Christmas comes early for the Harrison Festival Society

The Harrison Festival Society has been awarded more than $100,000 to help with costs for festival and performing arts season

The Harrison Festival Society has been awarded more than $100,000 to help with costs for putting on both the Festival of the Arts and the Season of Performing Arts.

The society will receive $57,000 for the 2015-2016 operating season and the same for 2016-2017. The festival society has received funding from the Canada Arts Presentation Fund before. But, as with most grants, they must reapply for funding every couple years and there is no guarantee they will receive the same grants or amounts each time they apply. So this is good news for the local arts scene, according to artistic director Andy Hillhouse.

“In terms of funding we get, it’s a good chunk,” he explains. “Without this level of funding, the festival would be a lot different.”

He explains that funding such as this allows the Festival of the Arts to include the free shows on the beach, providing access to top-quality entertainers from near and far for people who want to experience the festival but cannot always attend an evening performance in Memorial Hall.

“Not only does it allow us to bring in quality performers from far afield, it makes the festival accessible,” says Hillhouse.

The Canada Arts Presentation Fund gives Canadians increased access to the variety and richness of Canada’s culture through professional arts festivals, presentations of live professional performances, and other artistic experiences.

“The Harrison Festival Society provides our community with access to a variety of professional musical, artistic and cultural experiences. The Festival especially has been a mainstay of summer and has been enjoyed across generations in the Fraser Valley,” said Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl in a press release last week. “I am pleased that this investment will continue to support the important cultural and artistic programming of both initiatives.”

The 37th annual Harrison Festival of the Arts will take place from July 11 to 19, 2015. The Festival presents a variety of programming, including music, visual and literary arts, an outdoor art and craft market, workshops, and a special day for youth and children. The Season of Performing Arts, offered each year from September to April, consists of 10 to 12 shows featuring local, national and international performers. It will celebrate its 27th anniversary next year.