New approach makes 35th Berrybeat Festival ‘best one we’ve ever had’: organizer

Good weather, new stage location and kids zone made for success

  • Jul. 15, 2016 4:00 p.m.
Michael, 7, enjoys a shaved iced treat during the 2016 Berrybeat Festival.

Michael, 7, enjoys a shaved iced treat during the 2016 Berrybeat Festival.

The 35th annual Berrybeat Festival was a great success, thanks to co-operative weather and a fresh approach, says one of its organizers.

“It was really, really good. I think it was probably the best one we’ve ever had,” said Tina Stewart, executive director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA).

The festival is a celebration of berries and other foods with live music and kids’ activities.

Last year, attendance was lower than usual, which Stewart blamed on hot weather that keept people indoors.

Worried about the heat returning, the ADBA moved the stage and, as a result, had to redesign the whole layout of the site.

Stewart said the addition of a day dedicated to cover bands went over very well, as did inviting the Suburban Swingers dance group to encourage attendees to dance.

There were as many as 600 people at a time in front of the stage, as opposed to the usual 100, said Stewart, who estimated the total weekend attendance between 25,000 and 30,000 people.

The change in site plan included the addition of a kids zone, which Stewart said was “absolutely jam-packed all weekend.”

The changes to the popular festival area likely here to stay, she said.

“I definitely think it will be a permanent thing. The community reacted in a definite positive way; [they] loved it for sure,” she said.

Abbotsford News