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  • News Release: 2/25/2022

    February 22, 2022
    In March 2020, the Orillia Perch Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders. Prizes and event sponsorships were carried forward to the 2021 event. In 2021, with the pandemic restrictions ongoing, the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce (ODCC) partnered with a local media tech company to develop an app which eliminated the need for close contact, gathering, and volunteers. With prizes and sponsorships in place, and an app-based solution, the 2021 event was possible. Even when an additional Stay-at Home Order in the spring of 2021 threatened to cancel the event, the ODCC elected to plan the event to begin as soon as the order was lifted.
    The Orillia District Chamber of Commerce was optimistic as it began planning for the 2022 festival, with trends suggesting that outdoor gatherings would be permitted. Unfortunately, supply chains for prizes including fishing boats, electronics, fishing rods, and tackle, were compromised. Aluminum, plastic, and resin shortages worldwide impacted the ability of product sponsors to continue donating prizes. The festival relies entirely on donations and sponsorships, and despite the ongoing generosity of sponsors, many of the prizes simply weren’t available this year.
    To further complicate matters, the app creator, who was also impacted by the pandemic, recently advised that they will not be able to provide the app experience for 2022. With the time remaining, and a lack of last-minute volunteers, it is not possible to revert to the traditional festival format. The ODCC has been forced to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2022 event. “Up to this Tuesday, we looked at every avenue to keep this alive, and I am disappointed, but without a prize structure, we simply cannot move ahead,” says Chamber Events Coordinator Doug Bunker. “Even the sponsors and traditional prize donors are disappointed, as will be all those who have enjoyed this event for many years.”
    The Orillia District Chamber of Commerce encourages all Perch enthusiasts, both local and visitors, to continue the spring fishing tradition in Orillia and Lake Country. It is a great way to spend time with family and friends. Visitors can contact local hotels for special off-season rates and fishing packages. A perch fishing weekend in Orillia and Lake Country is a perfect way to use the Staycation Tax Credit. For more information on the Staycation Tax Credit, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-staycation-tax-credit.
    Between the supply chain issues and the app vendor issues, there was little choice for the ODCC but to shelve the 2022 Perch Festival. Events staff will focus their energy on summer festivals, including the Spring Boat Show, Christmas in June, Halloween in July, Waterfront Festival and Labour Day long weekend Pirate Party.