It was an unusual year for the Grist Mill in Keremeos, and the heritage site is looking ahead to a better 2023.
There was no one reason that could be pointed out for another in a string of exceptional years.
“We weren’t as busy as we hoped and part of that I think is every other entity that had been holding off on doing things for a couple of years did everything,” said Grist Mill general manager Chris Mathieson. “Everyone sort of threw everything at the wall and we all had to split our audiences 100 ways.
“I hope the next year is better, but we have the headwinds of inflation and there’s still pandemic-type things happening, so we’re cautious and not over-planning.”
The big events at the Grist Mill, like the beloved Teddy Bear Picnic, are definitely coming back in 2023. The Fiber Arts day will also be coming back for two days in 2023 instead of just one, after strong feedback and support.
The Grist Mill’s outdoor concert series will also be coming back in the new year with a new roster of performers.
Also returning in 2023 will be paid admission to the Grist Mill, a necessity to keep the site up and running.
“It’s a hard thing to do, but we don’t get any operating funding from any level of government, so to keep the doors open we need to make sure that the people coming through the doors that appreciate the pace are contributing,” said Mathieson.
Over the past two years of the pandemic, the Grist Mill had temporarily switched to an admission-by-donation model.
Keeping the site open to the locals is still a key focus, and the Grist Mill has been working on updates to their season pass program to keep it affordable for locals and regular visitors, as well as including a new community ambassador pass for locals who regularly host visitors that they can share with their guests.
The Grist Mill is also working with local community organizations to keep the sit accessible for people with low or no income as well.
The price for admission goes to keeping the doors open and the lights on, as well as to the staff who work the site and upgrades that have been worked on, including the summer kitchen and the newly restored Kruger Garden.
The new gazebo is also hopefully aimed to be finished in 2023 as well.
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