Bayfest won’t be happening this summer

bayfest crowdWho would have thought?

One of Sarnia's largest entertainment of the year, a tradition that fills Centennial Park with a mix of country and rock music, won't be returning in 2013.

That news comes from Michele Stokley, who with her late husband Jim Stokley founded the music festival in 1999, at least initially as a way to bring additional business for their restaurant, Stoke's By the Bay.

Those days are at least temporarily over.

"It is not economically feasible to produce the festival," said a news release from Bayfest organizers.

The reason given: flat sponsorship and rising costs.

Having said that, Bayfest has brought millions of dollars in economic impact to the area and raised and donated more than $1 million to charitable organizations as well as scholarships.

The rising cost of bands, staffing, security and overall production were all cited by Stokley.

She said the charity, the Bayfest Festival of Performing Arts, will continue to run other smaller charitable events, among them smaller concert series, the Yellow Hat Open Golf Tournament, and the Rockin' Rubber Ducky Race.

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