Funtastic ready to rock

Canada’s largest slo pitch tournament and music festival hits home this weekend

Preparation is in full swing as the region’s population is about to swell for Funtastic.

“Every room in the city is booked and campground full,” said Tony Pallas, Funtastic Sports Society executive director. “We have teams from all over Western Canada coming in to Vernon for the event.”

The slo-pitch tournament and A&W Music Festival kicks off Friday and plays through the weekend, wrapping up Monday, July 3.

More than 200 teams take to the diamonds at the DND grounds, Kin Park, Grahame Park and Alexis Park, as well as in Armstrong and Enderby. While the teams represent more than 4,000 players, the tournament also brings in spouses and families that come to cheer everyone on.

Plus there are the crowds of party-goers who will flock to the music festival Friday through Sunday featuring an array of local acts (check out the schedule at funtasticsports.ca).

“This year we are excited for the Family Zone from 11-4 which will allow families to come up to the site and watch some A Level Ball at the Twisted Tea A Division diamond as well as listen to our music that will be scheduled all day long with some fantastic acts,” said Pallas.

Each year Funtastic brings approximately $4.5 million in direct economic benefit to the local business community, but it takes a group of approximately 525 volunteers to make it all happen. Meanwhile the funds raised (More than $1.5 million to date) go back into the community to enhance local sports initiatives.

According to Tourism manager Ange Chew, as of Wednesday Vernon accommodations were 85 per cent full and expected to be sold out by the time the weekend arrived.

“Please call the Vernon Visitor Services team at 250-542-1415 and they will do their best to find places for visitors this weekend and to help guide visitors to the many activities in Vernon this weekend,” said Chew.

Along with Funtastic, the region is packed with activities including: Canada Day celebrations at Polson Park, fireworks at Kin Beach (which are expected to draw a wide crowd since Kelowna’s fireworks have been postponed), Canada 150 events, BC Mainstage from June 30 to July 8, Great Canadian Freefall Festival and other area community events for Canada Day.

 

Robert Murphy, Funtastic board treasurer, sorts through the signage as they set-up for the 33rd annual Fantastic Slo Pitch Tournament and Music Festival Thursday at the DND Grounds. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)