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North Bay looking at a larger Bay Days next June

The organizers of Bay Days in North Bay are hoping for a bigger and better event next June following the event’s inaugural debut earlier this year.

Bay Days replaced Summer in the Park, which proved to be a costly affair due to bad weather playing havoc with the outdoor concerts.

Several groups came together quickly earlier this year and announced Bay Days which saw grassroots groups put on their own events at their own expense.

“If there was money to be made then they made it so the overall burden for the festival was not on the community,” said Steve Dreany, the Executive Director of Tourism North Bay, one of the founding groups of Bay Days.

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Dreany says the time frame to put Bay Days together the first time around was very short and some groups told him they didn’t have time to get involved.

Dreany says Bay Days 2020 will be very different.

“We’re reaching out to those groups and saying we’ve got more time and want you involved,” he said.

Peter Chirico, the President of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce and another founding group of Bay Days, reinforced that this is a community festival and community-run event.

“We’re reaching out to the community to say what do you want and what are you prepared to come into this with,” Chirico said.

“I think that’s what creates the proper formula for a successful weekend.”

Like it did during its debut, Bay Days will again follow the local Armed Forces Day, with the latter set for June 13th and then followed by Bay Days from June 14th to 16th.

Bay Days organizers built up a database of participants during the first Bay Days and will reach out to these groups early in the New Year.

In addition, Dreany says expressions of interests have started coming in from some potential participants.

Organizers are expecting most of the events to return for Bay Days 2020.

That means North Bay and area residents can expect to see live, local entertainment at the Kiwanis Bandshell on Friday and Saturday, in addition to a Day at the Beach on Sunday which includes a sandcastle building event.

Dreany says what made the inaugural Bay Days successful was that businesses, like HGS, bought into events by sponsoring them.

HGS was responsible for the Day at the Beach and the events associated with that day.

Main Street and the Downtown Improvement Area also took part which resulted in artisan groups coming together as well as Cheapskates’ Rage in the Cage and the local karate club putting on demonstrations.

Last year’s first-ever Bay Days saw the Farmer’s Market by the local museum and a big car show.

This year the area has the newly built Splash Pad which is expected to draw many families.

Chirico says people seemed to enjoy the smaller events and it means the city didn’t have to get involved with putting on a large and risky Summer in the Park at taxpayer expense.

Over the years, city council has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Summer in the Park and Chirico says each year that event was “one raindrop away from failure” because rainstorms would cancel the outdoor music concerts and nullify revenue potential in the process.

City council’s share to Bay Days was only $10,000 and the entire budget for the event was $40,000 with the rest of the funds coming from participants and sponsors.

Dreany says organizers haven’t applied to City Hall for funding for Bay Days 2020 yet but plan to do so soon.

Dreany doesn’t expect the next Bay Days to cost any more than this year did and if expenses have gone up he says the additional costs will not be borne by taxpayers.

“It will be raised through sponsorships,” he said.

“All the different groups will do the programming and bear the expenses.  The (Bay Days) committee will cover the general expenses and promotions.”

The other founding groups of Bays Days were Creative Industries, Downtown North Bay and the Discovery Route Trail System.

Dreany says potential participants can contact any of the groups to get involved in Bay Days 2020 or go to [email protected] for more information.

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