Festival of Wizardry agreement approved - July 20, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
The Festival of Wizardry is one step closer to being a reality in Blyth as North Huron Township Council approved a rental agreement for the Blyth Campground for the event for Oct. 14 and 15.
Council approved the agreement, which includes several pages of required plans and documents, at its Monday night meeting.
While council members had no issue with the plan, Councillor Trevor Seip wondered why the agreement was being exempt from a section of the municipality’s procedural bylaw.
Seip was referring to the fact that the municipality would not be seeking public input on the decision by passing the agreement the same meeting it was presented.
“Why can’t we wait another meeting for public consultation?” Seip asked during the meeting.
Director of Recreation and Facilities Pat Newson said that public consultation was waived for two primary reasons; the festival had been discussed at previous meetings and the public had opportunities to contact council regarding it and Transfigured Town Inc., the organizing group behind the event, wants to have the rental contract in place to begin signing other contracts.
“We have had no one from the public come forward to suggest the event would not be a good idea,” she said. “We reached out to community groups and the BIA.”
Newson said the organizers wanted to quash any rumours that the event would not be held in Blyth and were looking to launch a website as soon as possible to recruit local volunteers.
“The event does seem far away, but with the size and scope of it, they will need as much time as possible to get these agreements into place and move to the next stage of planning,” she said.
Newson then said that, normally, rental agreements for the campground don’t come to council, but, due to the size of the event and the fact that council had directed staff to work with the organizers, she felt it was appropriate for council to sign the agreement on behalf of the staff.
Seip’s final concern was any “future hiccups” after adopting the rental contract, however Newson said that the contract, like any other rental agreement, can be declined by the township.
“We are confident we are ready to move this to the next step,” Newson said.
The contract includes several pages of stipulations Transfigured Town Inc. needs to meet before the event can happen. Aside from requirements such as insurance and a damage deposit, the agreement calls for fencing around the event, details for use of the ice surface at the Blyth and District Community Centre and cleaning of the site after the event.
A proposed schedule shows the plans that are necessary for everything from waste to volunteer services to vendors and food concessions and outlines when these plans have been or will be made available to the municipality.
Council approved the rental agreement.
After the meeting, co-organizers Nathan Swartz, President of Transfigured Town Inc., and Amanda Swartz, Chief Operating Officer, announced that the change of venue has allowed them to include some new events.
In a press release it was announced that the ice pad at the arena is going to be used for a ‘Death Day Celebration’ which will feature a ‘Haunted Ice Bar’ serving non-alcoholic specialty drinks from fictional magic universes. The release states “ghosts will skate, twirl and dance to ghostly music.”
In the release, Amanda said the move to Blyth from Goderich has proven to be a benefit to the event.
“All in all, this has been a very positive and much needed change for the festival,” she said. “While we know that change can be difficult for some, the overall experience will actually be far more exciting for those attending than we had originally planned.”
Festival of Thrones
The release also outlined two more events being planned by Transfigured Town Inc., another Festival of Wizardry which doesn’t have a date or location yet and Festival of Thrones, an event celebrating medieval fantasy genres like George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones, set to take place June 2-3 at Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company.