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Voting is underway for the Faces of Fusion Awards, which will celebrate innovative Islanders ages 18 - 40 a little later than usual and with a few fresh changes this year.
Anyone who wants to vote for one of the 17 nominees can do so on the Fusion Charlottetown website until midnight on Sept. 19. Winners in the six categories will be announced during the awards ceremony on Sept. 22 at Salt and Sol, starting at 6 p.m.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,800 votes had been cast, only about 200 fewer than last year with a few days left of voting, said Emma MacKenzie, Fusion Charlottetown board member and head of the events committee.
“I think that goes to speak to how impressive our nominees really are.”
While the event is usually held in June, the move to September is a small change compared to the reduction in the number of attendees — from 150 down to 50 — for the free event due to restrictions around the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain), which will affect more than just the amount of applause for the winners
As most of the available seats will be taken up by the nominees, sponsors and board members, a key part of the event will be somewhat diminished: networking.
“Typically, people are getting a drink, mixing and mingling and walking around the room, so I think a big thing is going to be, unfortunately, there isn’t going to be as much networking opportunities since people are confined to stay at their tables.”
Other changes include the venue, a reduction in the number of awards, from eight to six, and the addition of a brand-new community organizer award, though these changes were less COVID-related, she said.
“I think we wanted to change up our awards anyway. Some of the awards weren’t getting as much uptake in the fourth year compared to how much they were in the first year.”
The axed awards were for volunteer of the year, influencer of the year and the urban development award.
The hope is that the community organizer award can cover a lot of the bases of the old awards, said MacKenzie.
“We think it kind of encompasses everything.”
With the reduction in attendees, Fusion Charlottetown will be livestreaming the event on the Fusion Facebook page for those who want to watch from home.
Those in attendance will be restricted to their tables to ensure social distancing, with six to 10 people at each table.
Winners will receive a customized award from a local artisan, though what exactly that will be is being kept under wraps.
Regardless of who wins, MacKenzie is excited by what the nominees have accomplished.
“We’ve had some very impressive nominees this year and it’s definitely going to be hard to determine, but we really think they all deserve to win an award. It’s really impressive what young people in Charlottetown are doing and have been doing in 2020.”