(Fort McMurray, AB – August 12, 2019) – On Sunday, August 11th the 4th Annual Empty Bowls Festival presented by John Wilson’s Hedco Group in support of the Wood Buffalo Food Bank (WBFB) was a huge success, raising just $22,695 net, coming close to their $25,000 goal.
Held at Jubilee Plaza from 11am to 3pm, the family-friendly event had festival goers purchase locally hand-crafted bowls from the Fort McMurray Potter’s Guild and Color Me Mine Fort McMurray and make their way around the festival, sampling creations from six food stations hosted by local eateries. Local artisans were present to showcase and sell their arts and fine crafts, with a portion of sales being donated back to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, as well as displays and demonstrations of live arts and fine crafts, and several art activities for children. To raise additional funds, 18 celebrity bowls were created for a silent auction, along with many other items submitted by the local artisans, and the event featured a prize raffle and 50/50 draw.
The festival saw a total of 743 attendees come though, and like every year there was a line-up of festival-goers eagerly awaiting 11am to purchase and pick their bowl. This year pre-sale tickets were available for the month leading up the event, which 281 people took advantage of to skip the payment process at the door.
“We heard the ask from the community for online ticket sales, and we were at the place with the event where we could try that out” says Dan Edwards, Executive Director. “With this being the fourth year hosting the Empty Bowls Festival, each time we are learning what we need to tweak and improve on. It’s a constant learning process and we love hearing the feedback from the community so we can continue to grow this event each year.”
The goal of this event is to raise awareness and funds for the organization while giving the community a family-friendly affordable event to attend. By keeping admission price at $20 per adult and $10 per child, it gives the community an accessible event for everyone. Previously held in September for the past three years, the WBFB decided to move it up a bit into August.
“We decided to move the event in hopes of having better weather than the last two years, as we had a bit of bad luck with rain and wind,” says Anna Noble, Communications and
Development Manager. “This year turned out to be beautiful, and we were so pleased by the turnout.” Despite concerns about people being away in the summer, the hopes were to give the community a reason to stay in town and enjoy local events.
By popular request, a follow-up bowl sale will happen again this year in order to give those who missed the event a chance to purchase a bowl, as well as raise some additional funds. The sale will take place in September, with the date being announced within the next week on social media.
The WBFB would like to extend a great deal of thanks to those who made this event possible. A huge thank you to John Wilson and his team at the Hedco Group for becoming the presenting sponsor for this event. Thank you to the incredible bowl partners on this event; the Fort McMurray Potters Guild and Color Me Mine for the creation of all the bowls, Suncor for sponsoring a portion of the bowl costs, and to the community members who created all the unique designs on them. Thank you to Finning Canada for joining this year as the Entertainment Sponsor, and to AJP Audio Services Ltd., for assisting us in providing and arranging live music and entertainment. Thank you to Alberta Motor Association for their second year as Volunteer Sponsor and to all our volunteers who helped us run this event. Thank you to Flett Manning Moore and CNOOC International for joining us as Live Art sponsors to bring you art demonstrations and activities. Thank you to Canadian Tire for donating the wonderful summer themed raffle prizes. Thank you to Aluma Systems for donating the use of their stage, and graciously taking care of the set-up and take-down for us. Thank you to our amazing food vendors; Chartwells, The Keg, Canadian Brewhouse, Quality Inn & Conference Center and Mitchell’s for their amazing creations, and to all the market vendors, entertainers and artists who joined us. And a huge thank you to media partners Mix 103.7 and 100.5 Cruz FM for helping to get the message out about the event.
About the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association
Established in 1983, the Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association provides programs and services that provide the resources and education necessary to ensure food security for all citizens in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. For more information, visit www.woodbuffalofoodbank.com.
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Communications & Development Manager