MIDLAND – Ontario’s Best Butter Tart Festival was a big success this year, but there is still some room for improvement.
That was the message festival co-ordinator Angela Bird brought to Midland council Monday evening.
Bird said the fourth annual event brought in 43,000 people and pumped $3.8 million into the local economy.
“It was a very rainy Saturday,” she said. “But 43,000 people still showed up. That’s something.”
And attendance was not just from locals. A survey showing 43 per cent of attendees came from out of town.
“There’s a lot of value to the festival when someone would drive two hours on Highway 400 in the summertime to buy some butter tarts,” she said. “It really speaks to the quality of the event.”
Bird said 127,000 butter tarts were sold in one day, which was a 60 per cent increase over the 2015 festival.
“But most vendors were sold out by 1 (o’clock),” she said. “So there’s still a pipeline to fill and we haven’t filled it yet.”
Bird said she has identified several areas for improvement. Complaints were heard about traffic congestion, the late start and end times, and issues with garbage overflowing and blowing around.
“We’re going back to 9-to-5 next year,” she said. “And we’re going to go with third-party garbage collection and a new shuttle strategy to get congestion away from downtown.”
Deputy Mayor Mike Ross said he has been “overwhelmed” by the number of people who know about the festival in all corners of the province.
“I’ve been all around Ontario as a result of my other job,” said Ross, who works in wine retail. “A lot of people say, ‘You’re from Midland? You have that butter tart thing, don’t you?’ It’s so well known.”
Next year’s festival will take place June 10.
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