In addition to many other perks for the town of Sackville, SappyFest offers local vendors a place to sell their goods, like the Cinnabunny stand pictured above.
SACKVILLE, N.B.- Sappyfest has fast become a welcome addition to the summer line-up in Sackville, helping bring tourist dollars into the community and an enlivened atmosphere to the downtown, not to mention the invaluable promotion that comes with the event each year.
“The publicity this brings to Sackville is phenomenal and the spin-off effects are great for business,” says Ellen Pickle, owner of Tidewater Books in Sackville.
Pickle says her store was busy all three days of the festival during the New Brunswick Day weekend and she actually extended her hours to accommodate the attendees, who come from all over Canada and the US to enjoy the annual music event of the summer.
“Lots of people tell us they come back because they love the feel and community spirit of our town,” she says. “The organizers are to be commended for doing such a wonderful job.”
Fellow business owner Robert Lyon couldn’t agree more, saying the town is very fortunate to have the festival here and all that it brings to the community.
“Sappyfest has become integral to our business. Before Sappyfest we would have to wait for the Mount A students to return before we got a large boost to the business. Now that happens in the middle of the summer from the festival. I believe that is the case for many downtown businesses,” says Lyon, who operates an arts studio in town.
And aside from the obvious financial and cultural boost to the community, Lyon says the town simply could not buy the national publicity that comes from Sappyfest.
“I can think of no other event that consistently puts Sackville on the national stage. It is imperative that the community does all it can to help make Sappyfest a continued success.”
Ron Kelly-Spurles, Sackville’s tourism manager, is also pleased with Sappyfest’s continued success, now in its eighth year.
“Once again SappyFest has done an exceptional job of running such a large event so smoothly and with so many interesting things to offer our community and visitors,” says Kelly-Spurles. “One business owner told me recently that SappyFest is like their second Christmas, so we’re very lucky to have them in the town.”
Mayor Bob Berry says the town certainly wants to continue working with Sappyfest organizers to see the event continue.
“I think it’s good for the town. There is definitely a spinoff,” he says of the festival-goers who spend their dollars at local restaurants and spend the night at local accommodations.
He says town council and staff will ensure they do all they can to move ahead positively, to see if there’s anything that could be improved, such as, for example, putting bylaws or requirements in place for mobile food trucks if needed.
Organizers this year say the event ran smoothly, likely the best ever, with attendance on par with the last couple of years, about 1,000 people per night.
Attendees certainly had great things to say about the event, if the comments on Facebook are any indication of the success.
“Thank you for such an amazing weekend. So many new bands to listen to. I can't believe how well this festival was organized. Esthetics were amazing. Police were sooo reasonable. I just cant get over it all!” writes one festival-goer.
Another states: “Well, that was the best three days of the year,” while someone else posts: “That was a very special weekend.”
RCMP were also pleased with how well the event ran, with only a few concerns cropping up related to the three nights of musical celebrations.
Sgt. Jamie Graves said there were a few arrests for public intoxication during the weekend, but all but one were locals. There was also a very small drugs seizure and a local complaint of drugs during one of the performances.