Blyth BIA lends support to Festival of Wizardry - July 13, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
Like its parent organization, North Huron Township, the Blyth Business Improvement Area (BIA) has lent its support to the Festival of Wizardry proposed to take place at the Blyth Campground.
North Huron Economic Development Officer Connie Goodall explained, during the BIA’s July 5 meeting, that the organization’s support would be helpful as planning went forward for the event.
“Nothing is finalized yet,” Goodall said. “North Huron staff are working with representatives from [the Festival of Wizardry], but nothing has been signed yet.”
While the BIA did provide its support for the project, Chair Rick Elliott said he had turned down the opportunity to have organizer Nathan Swartz, the CEO of Transfigured Town, the parent company behind the event, speak to the organization.
Elliott explained that he felt it would be premature speaking to Swartz prior to the event being confirmed. The BIA was then informed that, despite a press release and several media outlets reporting the event as officially being in Blyth, thus far, nothing had been confirmed or signed with the municipality.
North Huron Councillor Bill Knott, council’s representative on the BIA, said that council supports the festival 100 per cent, however the governing body is still waiting for details necessary to make the festival happen. He also made a point to say that this event, like any other event at the grounds, is not a municipal endeavour.
“This is an event being hosted by an organization,” he said. “This is not a municipal effort or a municipal event. This is a group renting a facility from the municipality and that is the end of our involvement.”
Irene Kellins of Stitches With a Twist asked if there was information to help local businesses avoid copyright infrigements when preparing items and sales for the event.
Goodall explained she had that information and would make it available to businesses interested in taking advantage of the fact that a possible 9,000 people would be coming to the village over the two-day event in October.
Kellins also felt that, due to a relative absence of familiarity with the event among business owners, the BIA should look to screen some of the Harry Potter movies, one of the intellectual properties the event drew upon in its first year of operation.
Knott said the film idea was a good one, provided the BIA sought out the necessary approvals to display the copyrighted materials before it happens.
“I would caution you to make sure you cross your Ts and dot your Is before pursuing that,” he said.
During Knott’s report to the BIA, questions arose as to the size of the festival, as, when it was originally presented to council, there were some events that could have used facilities outside the campground.
Elliott said that, in previous dealings with organizers of the event, there had been discussions about use of the Blyth Memorial Hall and the Greenway Trail, which was a municipal asset but is now maintained by the Goderich-to-Guelph (G2G) Rail Trail.
Knott said all the documentation he had been privy to did not mention any kind of events off the campground.
The BIA passed a motion supporting the event.