By Steve Hubrecht

The annual Wings Over the Rockies Festival is gunning to bring in a very high profile guest speaker for next year’s festival.

The popular nature festival has been a staple of the Columbia Valley’s spring events calendar since the 1990s; the 26th edition is set for May 8 to 14 this year. However, organizers are already thinking about the 2024 version of the festival, when they hope to bring renowned science journalist, Bob MacDonald, to town as a speaker.

MacDonald is famous across the country as the host of the Quirks & Quarks radio program, and is a member of the Order of Canada.

Invermere council enthusiastically threw its weight behind the plan during last week council meeting, when they unanimously agreed to give a letter of support to the festival as it pursues a grant to help secure MacDonald as a guest. The festival is applying for some of the recently-announced new grant funding from the provincial BC Fairs, Festival and Events Fund to help offset the cost of getting MacDonald on the festival’s program bill. 

“Wings has plans for a big name speaker in 2024 as a catalyst to increasing our ticket buying base which has been diminishing, and thus, will incur larger than usual expenses to make that happen. We are planning to bring in Bob McDonald of CBC fame,” wrote festival volunteer, Joan Galloway, in a letter to council.

Councillors were more than happy to send a letter of support to Galloway.

“It’s a great event for the valley,” said Invermere mayor, Al Miller, adding that council supporting the festival in any way it can is “just the right thing to do”.