HERITAGE FESTIVAL ON HOLD INDEFINITELY
January 29, 2023
The Chilliwack Heritage Festival Society Board of Directors have been meeting for the past several months to try and work on a plan to launch the Chilliwack Heritage Festival in 2024. The original plan was to always host the event by itself over a 2 day weekend at the Atchelitz Threshermen's Association Pioneer Village Museum. Last year the decision was made to scale the operation down to a single day event on the first day of the Chilliwack Fair so that we could keep our costs to a minimum, while building a reputation and gaining experience. Hosting our first event would have given us access to grants from various organizations and governments for future festivals. This would have been used to make the festival a larger event with more performances, more and larger displays, and additional advertising.
We have run into many roadblocks along the way since our first hopeful meetings in 2019, when we were well on our way to hosting this event with our entire planning team in place and starting to work before the pandemic started. Two years in, almost three quarters of our team left us for various reasons including health, fear of meeting due to Covid, and shifting priorities.
Recent discussions with the ATA to host the event at the same time as the Chilliwack Fair have not been successful unfortunately. Their plans are to fully utilize the ATA grounds for their own displays during the Chilliwack Fair, which leaves us no room to host the festival. As disappointing as this is, we have also come to the conclusion that there is just not enough interest from volunteers to help us organize the festival. We have tried on many different levels to recruit additional board members and the various coordinators needed but were not successful. These roadblocks were unfortunately insurmountable.
The CHFS Board of Directors realizes that the time just isn't right to host a festival. Other festivals have also recently cancelled their events such as the Vancouver Folk Fest and the Rockin River Music Festival in Merritt. Many service organizations, clubs, and other groups are also struggling to keep members and volunteers over the past 3 years so we are not alone. Therefore we have had to make the gut wrenching decision to put the entire project on indefinite hold for the time being. The board will meet again in January of 2024 to see if there is any hope of salvaging the idea of hosting the festival in the future. A vote will take place at that time to determine whether we continue to hope for a future date, or to formally close the Society down for good.