Kelowna’s Canada Day celebration will be biggest ever this year, say organizers.
With five stages for entertainment, acts from several different countries performing, the addition of a strongman show and a spoken-word stage, as well as the traditionally popular Canada Day birthday cake-cutting, Folkfest, Canada Day Spectacular concert by the Kelowna Pops Orchestra, a multitude of ethnic and Western food, kids entertainment, a ball hockey tournament, the annual Great CanadianApple Bin Paint-in outside the art gallery and the nighttime fireworks display, Festivals Kelonwa executive director Renata Mills said there will be something for everyone.
“We know how to throw a party in Kelowna,” said Mills during a news conference outlining plans for the July 1 festival downtown on Tuesday. “Canada welcomes all cultures and celebrates diversity not conformity,” “That’s the genius of Canada and that’s why we celebrate our ‘Canadian-ness’.”
Mills said this year organizers have not only added two more entertainment stages and several events, it has also branched out to include more of the downtown area, including Stuart and Kerry Parks in addition to its traditional home in Waterfront Park.
She said the cost of putting on the event this year is about $100,000 but that includes sponsorships, in-kind donations as well as money from both the city and the federal government. This year, Ottawa is kicking in $15,000 toward the Canada Day party here, said MP Ron Cannan.
New this year will be a strongman show, Team Extreme Warrior Force Okanagan, at Waterfront Park, which will perform in two shows, one at 12:30 p.m. and the other at 3 p.m.
A youth stage will be set up in Stuart Park and the new spoken word stage, called the Inspired Word Cafe, will be located in Kerry Park.
Folkfest, which features entertainment and food from the many different cultures represented in Kelowna, will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. It will take place in Prospera Place during the day and will be followed by the Kelowna Pops Orchestra concert at 7:30 p.m. The fireworks will go, weather permitting, at 10:30 p.m. off the beach at Waterfront Park.
For a full listing of events and times, and a map of the site, go to www.festivalskelowna.com.
Earlier in the day, at 12:30 p.m. the official Canada Day ceremonies will take place, including the cutting and distribution of the traditional Canada Day birthday cake.
Representatives of Premier Christy Clark’s byelection campaign team said Clark will participate in the cake cutting.
Mills said she expects the Canada Day celebrations here this year will likely be the biggest in the B.C. Interior.