City unites behind the Fusion Festival
All walks of life crossed paths; all orientations found their way; all flavours of culture tasted Kelowna this past Saturday at Downtown Kelowna Fusion Festival.
The inaugural Fusion Festival drew impressive crowds to Stuart and Kerry Park, under a 31 C heat.
Festival producer Quinn Best said that Kelowna has been thirsty for an event like this.
“Diversity is something that Kelowna is starting to warm-up to and take more of a leadership role in,” said Best.
“Culture is very important to a lot of people here. This is something that’s a little more unique, just for Kelowna.”
The numbers spoke on Best’s behalf.
“We had thousands of people constantly flowing through this event since 11 a.m. We had over 46 different vendors showcasing a number of the key stores and downtown businesses here in Kelowna.”
Best said it was a challenging process trying to predict how the virgin event would do.
“Sometimes you think you’ve hit the nail on the head and it doesn’t resonate with people,” he explained.
“Leading up to the event we were really careful of how we positioned it through social media.
“The second part of it was really activating all the downtown businesses.
“Once we had a chance to communicate with everyone, we really started to see the attitude change.”
The buzz, according to Best, started to set in right after Centre of Gravity.
“People recovered and started really tuning in these last couple of weeks.”
As with all things new, many stopped by Fusion Festival out of sheer curiosity.
Some probably didn’t expect that they would be sporting ‘I (heart) Fusion’ stickers when they left.
Part of the appeal had to do with the cost.
“It’s nice to offer a free event. The Downtown Kelowna Association is paying the bill for this, but I think they’re going to get a lot of reward out of it when they see the photos, videos and testimonials,” said Best.
“Hopefully it will help strengthen their relationship with the downtown community.”
The crystal ball is still too blurry for Best to predict whether or not there will be a second Fusion Festival.
“This is really a test pilot: Something new for the Downtown Kelowna Association to contract out some of their event properties.
“We realize that this is a great cultural corridor: I think we proved that (Saturday).”
Those who didn’t make it to the event can take a look at photos, videos and highlights of the event at www.kelownafusionfestival.com.