Billed as “Alberta’s most explosive festival,” GlobalFest 2009 launched yesterday with a funding announcement of more than $240,000 from the federal government.

As part of the Marquee Tourism Events Program, GlobalFest received the money to assist in promoting the festival across Western Canada.

“Events such as GlobalFest are instrumental in attracting visitors from all over the country and beyond, and the contribution to our economy cannot be overestimated,” said Calgary Northeast MP Devinder Shory. “GlobalFest will also be purchasing much-needed new equipment and will be enhancing its fireworks presentations, which are identified as the heart of the festival.”

The festival would like to attract international visitors as well, noted Michael Gretton, chairman of GlobalFest’s board of directors.

“Calgary is really growing to become a much more culturally diverse city,” Gretton said.

“GlobalFest is just a wonderful way to end off the summer in a very explosive way.”

The seventh annual event officially gets underway on Friday with the GlobalFest FilmFest and ends on Aug. 29 with the fireworks finale.

“We just hope and pray that the weather will work out well for us,” said Gretton, adding that organizers are hoping to attract 100,000 attendees.

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