“The Local Flavours Rendez-Vous was another success this year,” stated Dominique Tremblay, economic development director, in her report to council, November 18.
LISEZ LA VERSION FRANÇAISE
The fourth annual event, which highlights local and regional food and beverage outfits, including restaurants, vintners, craft brewers, and others, took place October 26 and saw about 400 people attend to browse among the 21 display booths and sample local dishes, beers, and wines. The twin goals of the event are to showcase the local food sector and also to maintain a wide and varied calendar of special events that aid and support the township’s growing tourism economy.
The question is whether the festival will continue as part of the township’s annual events calendar or take place every other year in future. Tremblay noted that the gate attendance of 400 is lower than last year’s 450, for the third annual Rendez-Vous. The first year saw 480 attendance while the year’s total was 600.
Fewer local vendors also took part in this year’s event compared to previous years. This year saw nine local vendors out of 21, with regional vendors making up the bulk of display kiosks.
“The purpose of the event is to promote the products offered by our local businesses,” noted Tremblay in her report. “It is increasingly difficult for businesses to participate due to shortage of staff and preparation time before the event.”
Other factors, Tremblay observed, which discourage local vendor participation in the festival include the insurance costs for local vendors, restrictions which prevent craft brewers and vintners taking part from selling their own products on-site during the event, and stricter demands on food safety from the regional health unit regarding food sales during public events.
Changing the Local Flavours Rendez-Vous so that it takes place every two years could make it possible for more local merchants to take part in the future. Tremblay noted it would also allow the economic development department to devote to organizing other events, like a business expo, which could help highlight local trades and professional businesses