(BlackburnNews.com photo)

North Huron votes to continue grant to Blyth Festival

As the Blyth Festival production “The Pigeon King” prepares to take the stage at the National Art Centre in Ottawa, the festival has been allocated it’s usual $15,000 by the Township of North Huron as part of a cooperative marketing strategy.

Council voted unanimously Monday night to continue the working relationship which has seen the festival put on a path of what Artistic Director Gil Garratt describes as an “incredible, upward trajectory”.

Garrett laid out some stunning numbers for North Huron council, including just over 26,000 visitors to this year’s festival, which included around 8,000 new ticket buyers.

Of the 26,000 visitors, Garratt said 92 per centĀ of them are coming from more than several kilometres away, positioning the Blyth Festival as not only a cultural asset, but an economic engine for the entire region.

There has been a 248 per cent increase in digital sales, and visitors this year came from all over Canada and the United States.

Garratt said the $15,000 grant is “an opportunity for North Huron to leverage the festival, and everything that comes with it”.

Reeve Bernie Bailey said North Huron stands behind the Blyth Festival, and council may at other ways to support the festival in the near future.