For Immediate Distribution
SHERBROOKE, April 26, 2017 – Townshippers’ Day, one of the largest annual events for the English-speaking community of Quebec’s historical Eastern Townships, will not take place in 2017. The announcement was made today by the President of Townshippers’ Association, the non-profit community organization behind the one-day cultural festival and information fair.
“After much debate and discussion at the Board level, and recognizing what an important cultural and community event Townshippers’ Day is, we’ve made the difficult decision to not hold the event this year,” explained Gerald Cutting, president of Townshippers’ Association. “This is not a decision taken lightly but it was necessary.”
This will be the first time the festival will be taking a year off since it was founded in 1979. But as Cutting explains, the rapidly changing landscape has made current planning conditions impossible to maintain.
“The aim was always to have a day that rotated across the Townships, giving a different town a chance to showcase their community’s English-speaking heritage and this has not been the reality for the last few years. Brome hosted the last two editions with success and had graciously offered to host this year, but that is not the aim of the festival.
“We’ve seen a decline in support and interest. Municipalities are experiencing budget restrictions and difficulties finding volunteers, and we can’t continue without their participation.”
Putting on the free community event, which is supported financially via contributions from the host and a variety of fundraising activities, hinges on the interest and hard work of a volunteer-led organizing committee from a host municipality, partners, and other community members, which have been hard to come by in recent years.
Townshippers’ Association has always played an integral part in facilitating the organization of the event but its success depended heavily on the involvement from the community. The shortfall means that the Association was forced to take on a greater role in recent years in order to ensure the festival took place.
“Without having a dedicated volunteer-led committee with strong ties to the English-speaking community to help, fewer people have to step up to the plate to do more. That’s not a model that we have the ability to continue,” said Cutting.
Townshippers’ Day has been a great tradition in the region for the last 37 years. Putting the festival on pause will allow the organization to make important changes to the event’s structure that reflect current realities and support a more sustainable model for future editions. The Association is hopeful to bring the festival back in 2018.
Community members who have an interest in supporting a future Townshippers’ Day or volunteering on an ad hoc committee for the festival are invited to contact Townshippers’ Association at 819-566-5717, toll-free: 1-866-566-5717, or by emailing [email protected]
To keep up with the latest news from Townshippers’ Association visit www.Townshippers.org and be sure to keep an eye on Townshippers’ social media for updates and information.
Communications Officer, Townshippers’ Association
819-566-5717 (toll free 1-866-566-5717), [email protected]