Tourism department touts 2018 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival, given green light for 2019



By Ron Giofu


The town’s tourism department has been given the go-ahead to plan the 2019 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival after giving council details on the 2018 event.

Rota, who thanked council at the Oct. 9 meeting for its support of her department over the last four years, said they are trying to have Amherstburg viewed as “the apple of Essex County’s eye” and that tourism brought 179,701 visitors to town in 2017. According to Rota, statistics are trending upwards at a rate of 38 per cent.

This year’s Amherstburg Uncommon Festival drew an estimated 35,000 people over the three-days with Rota stating that there was 27 hours of continuous programming and 38 program participants including artists, cultural organizations, program providers and vendors. There was 500,000 square feet of “operational festival grounds” and 260 volunteers both local and non-local.

The town invested $28,631, Rota added, and that sponsorships and donations generated $89,895. She added that the event generated almost $2.8 million in Ontario spending.

Most visitors came from southwestern Ontario, she told town council.

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The appeal of the 2018 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival was “diverse” and Rota indicated that many of the people heard about the festival through social media. She also promoted the rebranding efforts, stating it’s more than a logo but a website as well in which such things as online booking and ticket sales will be available.

“Kudos to you and your whole department,” said Councillor Jason Lavigne.

Lavigne credited the tourism department for their work on all festivals, adding that the rebranding “wasn’t just spending money” as he said it will help promote events and bring in more money. He added that he attended this year’s festival and it was great for children.

Councillor Leo Meloche remarked that he made a few Harry Potter wands in his workshop to help participate in the festival.

“It was a great event,” said Meloche. “For a first time event, it was very successful.”

Councillor Rick Fryer also praised the town’s tourism department and hoped to get more “buy-in” from the downtown businesses next year. Rota said there were seven meetings with businesses in leading up to the 2018 Amherstburg Uncommon Festival and that “our doors are always open.”

“All in all, I thought the downtown was well received,” said Fryer.

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