A crowd of approximately 6,500 packed into Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna to ring in 2018. (Contributed)

A crowd of approximately 6,500 packed into Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna to ring in 2018. (Contributed)

Downtown Kelowna New Year’s celebration cancelled

The popular New York New Year’s event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

A popular Kelowna New Year’s Eve tradition has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual “Valley First New York New Year’s” celebrations held at Stuart Park and the Kelowna Community Theatre will not be held in 2020. It would have been the event’s ninth year.

Festivals Kelowna executive director Renata Mills described the cancellation as “inevitable.”

“With the growing attendance we have seen over the years, and the size of the spaces we use, there is no way we could hold the festivities in a responsible, COVID-safe manner.”

The event began as one of the few that welcomed people of all ages to celebrate the coming new year.

Mills said Festivals Kelowna looked at ways it could implement a virtual version of the celebrations, but decided against it.

“… Frankly, that isn’t what we do,” she said. “Festivals Kelowna produces live, outdoor events for our community. As such, our staff will simply move our plans into 2021 when it will be much safer to gather once again for community celebrations. After such an upside-down year, we are very excited about that prospect.”

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