Light up the night with First Night light in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna heads toward a First Night celebration with a tentative start in Jim Sutart Park this year

  • Dec. 19, 2012 1:00 p.m.
New York New Year's runs in Jim Stuart Park where the skating rink sits.

New York New Year's runs in Jim Stuart Park where the skating rink sits.

A new year, a new plan for New Year’s Eve.

Kelowna will launch into 2013 New York-style, but not just because we’re incredibly classy.

The New York New Year’s Eve is the city’s family event on the waterfront. It has been nearly a decade since the last city-wide event and, as Festivals Kelowna hones in on how to develop a fantastic, kid-friendly celebration into more of a First Night affair, anyone in Jim Stuart Park this year will be able to enjoy music, a light show with strobe lights and fireworks, and snow games.

The trick of the event is that it’s set to run on the same clock as the iconic New York countdown so that children can celebrate without being out too late.

“It was the impetus of one of my staff, Ryan Donn, who spoke to me about it in the fall when we had just finished our summer activities,” said Renata Mills, Festivals Kelowna executive director. “We had just finished everything and were ready for the break, but he pushed for it.”

The pair figured out they could pull together a simple event without overloading the organization and the board of directors at Festivals Kelowna, which remains under the city umbrella for at least one more year, loved the concept.

As such, the New Years at Stuart Park celebration will run 6 to 9 p.m. and will include a snow zone with snowman building and simple games, a New Year’s countdown and land-based fireworks (as opposed to the Canada Day ones done from a barge).

The Merkins, headed by Jim Rhindress, will open the event with a 45-minute classic rock set, flowed by the Calum Hughes Collective. Hughes is best known for his work in Kinship, a Celtic rock group very popular in the area, but his new solo venture is more progressive rock.

His CBC Music bio dubs him an Eddie Vedder sounding Dave Matthews/David Gray-type whose been known to pick up the bagpipes in the middle of a rock show.

That will likely suit the band he’s opening for very well. Extremely popular and always on the move, Cod Gone Wild will bring the house down with their Celtic rock—or the skating ring as the case may be—as the event rolls on to midnight, New York time, or 9 p.m. here in Kelowna.

Next year, Festivals Kelowna is looking to take this event to the next level, so be sure to be on site for the beginning of First Night Kelowna, at least that’s the tentative plan.

A few other ideas for the evening might include:

Habitat is hosting it’s annual New Year’s Eve event with Neil E Dee’s Danger Thrill Show and The Neon Kitten Burlesque’s midnight performance to the backdrop of DJ Toddy Rockwell. Tickets are $20 online or $30 at the door

O’Flannigan’s Pub will host a New Year’s Eve shindig with a champagne toast and live music. Tickets are $10

-The Minstrel Café & Bar has a three-course dinner and music from Blue City Trio. Tickets are $79.97 and reservations are recommended, call 250-764-2301

-The Deb Stone Band plays The Blue Gator beginning at 8 p.m.

-The Cabana Grille hosts Viva Las Vegas with casino tables, show girls, live entertainment and classic cocktails. Tickets $115

Summerhill Pyramid Winery will host a Beatles-themed New Year’s celebration with dishes like the Sablefish BLT and the SGT Pepper’s beef strip loin. The meal is $50 or $65 with wine pairing and includes a midnight toast and tunes by Nicole Leger on piano. To reserve call 250-764-8000

-Haven’t seen the new senior’s centre by a new name? Come to the Parkinson Activity Centre, 1700 Parkinson Way, and dance to Jambalaya, enjoy a midnight buffet and champagne, and all for $35. Tickets available at PAC front desk, 1800 Parkinson Way (Highway 97). Sponsored by the Lift What’s Draggin’, Kelowna’s Senior Dragon Boat Team. For information call 250-860-6786

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read