Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran (centre) with other participants at the 2016 Sugarplum Ball.—Image credit: Okanagan Pride Society

Kelowna’s Sugarplum Ball is coming back

After the success of the inaugural event last year, the ball will go again July 29.

The Sugarplum Ball is coming back.

The Okanagan Young Professionals and Okanagan Pride Society are teaming up again this year to bring back the event, July 29 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

The ball was born out of an idea last year after Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran was dubbed “Mayor Sugarplum” by a letter-writing opponent of city council’s approval of a rainbow-coloured crosswalk in the city representing an inclusive and diverse community.

At the time, Basran said he believed the letter writer was attempting to insult him with the nickname, but it backfired. Baran said he embraced the name and ran with it.

“From this, the idea of the Sugarplum Ball was born; an event to celebrate and embrace the diversity in our community,” said organizers in a news release announcing the second annual ball.

The inaugural ball was planned as a one-time event. But organizers said after its success —all 400 tickets sold out—the event’s future as a recurring event was solidified. The inaugural ball was the first of its kind in the Okanagan and featured multiple parties, a drag runway featuring Basran, made up in what he described as a David Bowie-Ziggy Stardust-type look, as well as other local celebrities.

“And most importantly, (there was) an atmosphere of inclusivity,” said organizers.

“This event is about our community coming together to show the world that Kelowna is welcoming to all and a progressive and vibrant community,” said Drew Vincent of the Okanagan Young Professionals. “We’re driving this initiative because it matters to young people. They want to be part of a progressive community and this event highlights just that, and we have a mayor that goes out of his way to push this community forward.”

Last year, the Sugarplum Ball made international headlines and generated more than three million web impressions.

“Last year’s ball was such a success, we knew we had to stage it again,” said Dustyn Baulkham president of the Okanagan Pride Society. “We’re building up the event this year with some exciting secret performances that will be revealed closer to the event. It’s going to be an incredible night.”

He said there are still opportunities for businesses to get involved as a sponsor. To learn more about those opportunities go to okanaganpride.com

Tickets for the 2017 Sugarplum Ball are now available online and start at $36.50 plus taxes and fees.