Rainy weather was the only thing to threaten the 19th annual carnival that ran from August 23rd to 26th. Thursday night rain put a damper on things and then a deluge on Saturday afternoon shut the carnival down for 3 hours. Despite umbrellas and rain wear, the carnivals attendance dropped to 35,000 from its usual 50,000 attendance. But that wasnt the worst of it.
The big talk of the event was whether it would be back for its 20th season. Due to a change in corporate policy, major sponsor Sun Life Financial pulled out of the carnival leaving a large gap in funding to overcome. Being a not-for-profit organization run entirely by volunteers, the Waterloo Busker Carnival depends on sponsorships, grants, and donations to produce the popular event each year. It was no wonder that days after the carnival, the organizing committee was approaching the City of Waterloo for assistance. "Without the investment of the City of Waterloo, we will not be celebrating our 20th anniversary of this festival, "said co-chair Don Pendlebury. "We will be attending the wake of its demise." But as we know today, it was not the demise of the carnival but rather, a call to action to build an even better one. In fact, Sun Life Financial would return a few years later to inject even more funding into the carnival as Title Sponsor.
Here's "Whats Happening When" to review the 4-day event:
Due to reduced funding, the shortened lineup of buskers included:
Jeff Collins, Halifax - fire eating, comedy
Magic Brian, New York - magic, escape, comedy
Wheel in Motion, Quebec - wheel artistry, comedy, acrobatics
Tallulah, Vancouver - comedy, characterizations
Pitter Pat, Florida - face painting extraordinaire
Company Blonde, Toronto - comedy, dance, theatre
Nexus Movement, Toronto - martial arts, dance, break dancing, acrobatics
Daniel Forlano, Massachusetts - comedy
Bamboozled, Australia - juggling, comedy, unicycling
Bikeboy, Australia - amazing bicycle stunts, comedy, juggling
Andy Zapp, Australia - comedy
Masonious Max, San Francisco - comedy
Cartoon Bob, Oakville - cartoonist, caricatures
Michael Carl O-Neil, Hamilton - mime, comedy
Favourites, Tallulah and Daniel Forlano, would both be back for the 25th anniversary of the carnival even though at the time of this carnival, it was up in the air whether it would be back for the 20th.