By the time that this article is in print, the August long weekend and Summer in the Park will be over, and another memory will be added.  No doubt that there will be discussions both good and bad, about the change in venue for the long weekend festival and how successful or unsuccessful it was.  Looking in the rear-view mirror is always easier than taking chances and if we were only to look backwards, nothing would change.

The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the volunteers and sponsors who have stepped up and tried something different to revive the annual celebration that is known as Summer in the Park.  The countless hours that these people have put in over the past year, organizing this year’s event should not be over looked.  Although the festival may not be suited for everyone’s taste or appetite, the organizers heard that it had to change, and they did exactly that.  Congratulations for having the fortitude and gumption to try something new.

Since the inception of the festival many years ago, the festival has evolved and changed.  Economics, demographics, Mother Nature and competition have all been major factors which have resulted, in the changes that we have seen.  They will continue to be the major factors in planning and looking at the future of the festival.  Many may argue that it is time to abandon the festival, that it has lost its relevance and that it is too risky to put on.   The not to distant memory of when the festival was cancelled and the long weekend in August was just another weekend, will hopefully put some perspective into the analysis or post mortem of this year’s event.

As we move into municipal election mode, no doubt we will hear from incumbents and challengers, about why or why not, this weekend event, should or should not continue.  It is our sincere hope at the Chamber, that decisions are not made solely on financial success or failure.  The sense of community that the festival has maintained since inception, would be a loss for North Bay and the surrounding area.  The investment that the City has put into this event pays dividends to our community not only in dollars and cents but in the community and sense of belonging as well.  Changes will occur but let’s not throw the proverbial “baby out with the bath water”.

To co-chairs Geoff Richardson and Thomas Brown, Councillor Shogren and City staff, and the entire group of volunteers and sponsors, thank you for making North Bay a better place.

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce