NEXT year’s Mintfest street festival could be under threat if thousands of pounds is not raised to plug a funding hole.

Organisers say elements of the mostly free town centre arts festival may have to be dropped in 2012 after a major funding source was lost.

The summer street extravaganza, which attracts up to 25 acts, traditionally marks the end of the annual Lakes Alive season. It costs more than £80,000 to stage — funding which was previously provided by the North West Regional Development Agency as part of a £250,000 sponsorship.

But the agency has now been axed, leaving Kendal Arts International desperately short of funds and leaving the town centre street entertainment most at risk of being cut. However, organisers believe the weekend-long street event could be kept intact through an online fundraising appeal.

Mintfest is the only arts festival in Cumbria to be featured in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, which will take place next month.

For every pound pledged by the public, it will be matched by cash from the Reed Foundation, a national charity, and other sources.

Jan Shorrock, marketing manager at Kendal Arts International, says a £20,000 public donation target has been set for the Mintfest appeal — which could rise to £40,000 with matched funding from Reed.

She said: “The street festival in Kendal is under threat if we don’t find the money. It would be a great shame because it is a very popular mostly free event, enjoyed by thousands of people.”

She is now urging South Lakelanders to pledge cash to the Big Give Christmas Challenge, which takes place on line from December 5-9.

To promote this and other fundraising endeavours, Kendal Arts International has launched a campaign urging the public: ‘Don’t let Mintfest 2012 be a mint with a hole!’

Kendal Arts International director Julie Tait said: “I would like people to realise that although we have been well supported in the past, we face funding challenges like every other arts organisation or festival.”