The inaugural Plaid Goat Mountain Bike Festival has been left out on a ledge after the community of Canmore’s destination marketing organization decided to cease operations this summer.
Plaid Goat organizer Wanda Bogdane explained that the event had partnered with Canmore Business and Tourism to leverage funding available through Travel Alberta for cooperative marketing initiatives.
But when CBT announced at the end of July it could no longer operate, Bogdane said that left the startup event she is organizing in a tough situation.
“Canmore Business and Tourism understood what it took to pull off an event of this magnitude, especially in its first year,” she said. “There is a lot involved in launching Plaid Goat and CBT believed in the vision of the festival and saw the economic possibilities.”
But not very many people know, Bogdane said, that CBT not only supported the concept of the Plaid Goat event, but also committed $28,000 in funding towards it before ceasing operations.
“Not only was Canmore Business and Tourism offering significant support, but it was meant to be leveraged with Travel Alberta for a cooperative marketing program,” she said.
She added marketing of the event was to be regional in scope and attract long distance mountain bikers to the area. But without CBT at the table, Bogdane was in front of Canmore council to ask it to contribute the funding lost when CBT went under.
Bogdane said Travel Alberta has indicated it would continue to consider the application for cooperative marketing funding to the Plaid Goat festival if the municipality replaced CBT as a funding partner.
She said as a home-grown event, with a phased growth approach and solid business plan, Plaid Goat is a great opportunity for council to help create something meaningful for the mountain biking community.
The Plaid Goat event would be a bucket list mountain bike festival, said Bogdane, which would draw visitors to the Rockies and make locals proud of the event and rally around what it is that is available for the recreational mountain biker in the region.
The experience of the event would have many moving parts, she said, including demonstrations, a festival atmosphere with children’s activities, a jump jam, coaching clinics and group rides.
“These are things that anyone can come to,” she said. “This is not a race-based event in any way shape or form – this is for anyone.
“There are already so many events in town that are a race format and there is a need for something new and unique.”
Council will consider the funding request as part of its 2017 operating budget deliberations, which began on Tuesday morning (Nov. 8).