The Qualicum Beach Fire and Ice Festival has been cancelled for 2013.
Fire and Ice Festival Society chair Walter Hoogland said the decision to take a one-year break was a difficult one, but necessary, due to a dearth of volunteers and other forms of support for the event.
“I am having to step back and there were really not a whole lot of people who wanted to step in and take over,” Hoogland said Monday. “A small society like ours will always have difficulty in getting succession and we were trying to get the larger community, including the merchants, to help support that.”
That support, although forthcoming, was not sufficient to allow the society to present the festival to continue.
“It was a difficult year for merchants in 2012,” he said, “particularly in Qualicum Beach. We looked at the support we had in terms of cash and every year it was the same, but for a growing event, we can’t leave that the same.”
Hoogland said the festival has become a victim of its own success, with participation rising steadily over the years, while volunteer ranks have remained relatively stable.
He noted that not only Fire and Ice, but other festivals as well have had difficulty growing their volunteer base.
Although he conceded the cancellation was a difficult pill to swallow, Hoogland said he is confident a one-year break will allow the group to restructure, retrench and come up with a festival in 2014 that will make the whole community proud.
“It would be extremely difficult for our group to maintain its enthusiasm and quality if we did it this year,” he said. “However, we have a board of directors and a society members who are pretty much staying where they are. We are going to have a good look at our needs and what we can do to have that level of excellence and do it in such a way that we can maintain that excellence in years to come.”