A popular Stratford festival is receiving funding from the city as Stratford continues to work to be a year-round destination.
Stratford’s Finance and Labour Relations Committee has given the green light to support the Lights On Festival through a $150,000 contribution for its 2023-24 edition, the first time the city has financially contributed to the event since it first began three years ago.
The funds for 2023-24 will be taken from the city’s tax stabilization reserve.
Destination Stratford Executive Director and Festival Director Zac Gribble says the event started out as an economic recovery effort and was supported through grants from upper levels of government, but those grants have become a lot more challenging to receive now that we are three years out from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says the festival is an economic driver for the rest of the city.
“Staying at our accommodators, going out to our restaurants, shopping at our shops, and using local services while they are here, that’s what we are seeing growing.”
As for future years, the committee voted to revisit their contribution to the festival as part of budget deliberations.