New board members urgently sought as future of Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival in jeopardy
Tim Brody - Editor
The fate of Sioux Lookout’s Blueberry Festival is in jeopardy.
After celebrating its 40th anniversary earlier this summer, the majority of the Festival’s board members are retiring and are urgently requesting new volunteers.
“We need at least four new board members to carry on the festival,” commented Dori Hopko,
Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival Committee President.
“We are hosting an information session on October 4, at 7 p.m., at Calvary Baptist Church. If you are interested in joining us for this evening, please come down. After placing many ads in the paper, Facebook and our website, with very little response, we’re reaching out to the community once again. If we cannot replace the retiring board members, the festival will no longer run as it is today,” she said.
Hopko and fellow Festival committee director Stuart Rattai said many of the festival’s six current board members have been on the committee for more than 20 years. At least four of the current board members have indicated they wish to retire from the committee.
Hopko said if people find the idea of organizing a 10-day festival with more than 100 events daunting, perhaps the festival does not need to continue in its present form.
Both Hopko and Rattai said they, and other board members, would be willing to mentor new committee members.
They said coordination is crucial for the festival to continue to ensure things run smoothly and work such as filing reports and applying for grants gets done on time.
Reflecting back over the years, Hopko said being a member of the Festival’s board has been a lot of work but has also been a very rewarding experience seeing the joy the festival brings people each year.
Each year the festival brings visitors, family and friends to town, provides local groups with fundraising opportunities, and provides days of fun.
Rattai said that formula really hasn’t changed over the years. “We’ve tried to grow it and make it bigger and better.”
Following the Oct. 4 meeting, depending on how it goes, the committee plans to reassess and see where the festival goes from there.