A scene from the 2017 Living Skies Come Alive Fireworks Competition at Moosomin Regional Park Kim Poole photo

Saskatchewan Community Event of the Year Regional Park a finalist for provincial award

March 5, 2018 7:43 am
Kevin Weedmark

Moosomin Regional Park’s Living Skies Come Alive Fireworks Competition has been named as a finalist for Saskatchewan Community Event of the Year Award.

The award is presented by Tourism Saskatchewan as part of the Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence.

The three finalists for Community Event of the Year Award are:
- 2017 Living Skies Come Alive International Fireworks Competition, Moosomin
- Gateway Festival, Bengough
- YXE Eats, Saskatoon

A list of 33 finalists were taken from 100 nominations received in the 12 award categories that acknowledge quality in marketing, service, business practices, human resource development and other areas.

The finalists and award recipients will be honoured at the 29th annual Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala, which will be celebrated on April 12 at the Delta Hotel in Regina. The three recipients of the Tourism Builder Award will also be recognized that night.

The event was nominated by the Moosomin Chamber of Commerce.

Provincial recognition
Moosomin Regional Park Manager Wayne Beckett said he’s happy to see the park recognized for the fireworks competition. “It’s good to see,” he said. “It shows that it’s a big event in the province. It’s a major event now in Saskatchewan.”

Beckett says the event has grown a lot over the years.

“We are in our ninth year and we hosted initially around 2,500 people, which has grown and grown, to the point last year of over 12,000, so the growth has been phenomenal.”

“It’s been good weather almost every year and people enjoy it, so word spreads,” said Beckett. “Of course it’s the first thing everybody books. When they want to book campsites starting March 1 it’s for that weekend, so it’s very popular.”

Chinese connection
Beckett believes that part of what made the 2017 Living Skies Come Alive more popular than previous years was the involvement of a Chinese competitor.

“It was because of the Chinese connection that we had such a big year,” he says. “We marketed that. Our company in Winnipeg that we have dealt with for a long time have some connections in the fireworks industry, including in China. They were the key to getting a company from China to come. It was easy to market the Chinese involvement. People got on board with it. They knew whatever China brought would be a big production. People really got on board with it and got behind it. The ticket prices for the advance tickets were reasonable and people really took advantage of that.”

Close to max capacity
Beckett says the 12,500 people who attended the fireworks last year is close to the maximum that the park can handle.

“Lately every year we think we’ve maxed out, but last year I’ve got to believe we came awful close,” he said.

“Physically we don’t have room for a lot more cars, or people, or camping. We’ve logistically run to the limit of what we can accommodate. 2017 was a good year for us financially. Our expenses don’t change a lot year to year, so when we get a lot more people through the gate, the revenue increases pretty dramatically, but the costs don’t rise, so we can raise a lot more money.

“I’ve got to think we have come close to topping out. Now we have to make the experience more enjoyable for the ones who are there—we have to make sure that we can handle that type of crowd, make sure we have enough food for that size of a crowd, and make sure we have the infrastructure to be able to handle that number of people. With our new water treatment plant on board this spring, that will help for sure. We’ve streamlined everything as much as we can and it could grow a little bit but not by too much.”

Plan for 2018 show
So what’s the plan for this year?

“First of all, we’ll pray for good weather,” said Beckett. “We’re still working on an international competition. We’ve got some solid leads and we should find out in the next week or two if that’s confirmed. It looks like it will be a U.S. company that will compete. That’s all we know for now. Were are actively looking for food vendors right now because we do have to supply more food for the crowd that is there. We’ve have had good interest already in that.”

The Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala will be a highlight of the HOST Saskatchewan Conference, which is also taking place on April 12 in Regina. The conference is the province’s largest assembly of tourism representatives.