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Elliot Lake Arts on the Trail gets bigger

Arts on the Trail attendance, revenue both up this year, Drag Race attendance drops
ElliotLakeToday file photo shows one of 22 artists displaying their work at Arts on the Trail.

In a report coming to Elliot Lake City Council at its next meeting Tuesday night, the City's Arts and Culture Coordinator will present her report on September's annual Arts on the Trail event. It was the eleventh such annual Northern Arts showing here, held on Sept.28.

"Arts on the Trail continues to be a more successful and cost-effective event being presented for one day only. We continue to see an increase in attendance, year to year, with this positive change," Kate Matuszewski said in her report.

"2019 saw a 17 per cent increase in attendance, which has now surpassed our lowest attendance for the two-day event by 177 people. This clearly indicates a one-day event is far more successful," Matuszewski said. "Our artists continue to prefer and support a one-day event and we have seen a further increase in participating artists in 2019, representing a 25 per cent increase over 2018. Increase in total sales over the previous year is 38 per cent."

The report went on to note that food vendors were included at all four venues this fall and live musicians were a big part of the event. The "People's Choice" Award results from Arts on the Trail were "Best Artist": Sheila Currie, "Best Youth Artist": Faith Bernard, "Best Musician": Trilogy (Debbie French, Steve Panasky, Sheila Hoo) and "Best Emerging Artist": Kelly Barbosa.

Thirty-five volunteers helped organizers run this year's Arts on the Trail event.

Of those who attended and then surveyed 75 per cent were from Elliot Lake. Five percent of the visitors each came from southern Ontario and Sudbury.

Total attendance by venue, 1,145 at Collins Hall, 864 at Elliot Lake Airport, 850 at Dunlop Lake Lodge and 800 at Camp Thompson. Thirty-five percent of the people surveyed attended the arts event for the first time.

Artists received a total of $36,848 in sales and commissions. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed who attended found the prices they paid affordable.

Last July, the three day twentieth annual North Shore Challenge drag race attracted 1,521 visitors in two days in July at Elliot Lake Airport. Nonetheless,  total paid attendance continued to decline from 1,976 in 2017, to 1,648 in 2018 to 1,521 this summer.

This year's actual budget for the North Shore Classic exceeded what was projected at 102 per cent of the estimate, or $227,440. Total revenue was $198,787. The budget loss was projected at $52,650. The year to date actual loss was $28,652.72. The variance between the budget and the actual was $23,997.

Those figures are from a report coming to Elliot Lake City Council on Tuesday night, submitted by the city's Special Events Coordinator Darla Hennessy. 

"The decline in attendance is attributed to the Committee's decision to offer only a weekend pass with no day pass availability," Hennessy wrote in her report to council.

About the Author: Brent Sleightholm

As a reporter, Brent has covered everything from amateur and professional sports, to politics, entertainment, police and courts, to human interest stories and government issues
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