Canada Day in Kelowna: Music, food, fun, family….and fireworks

Kelowna knows how to throw a Canada Day party and next Friday's day long celebration will be one for the ages

  • Jun. 23, 2016 12:00 p.m.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Festivals Kelowna board president Ed Laverock in their traditional Canada Day hats

Music, food, fireworks and fun for the whole family.

That’s what organizers of the 19th annual Celebrate Canada Day—Kelowna festival are promising as the city will hold a day-long party to celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday.

An estimated 55,000 people will take in part of the Canada Day party in Kelowna with activities ranging from the 43rd Annual Folk Fest in Prospera Place, to six different musical stages, 20 different food vendors, more than 50 artisans and to top it all off, the fireworks celebration at 10:30 p.m. next Friday evening.

“This is one of our favourite events of the year and it’s just incredible how many people come downtown,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, at a media event to introduce the festival line-up on Thursday at Jim Stuart Park. “This fills our downtown and water-front parks with people in a free and friendly community atmosphere that ends with a memorable fireworks display. It’s such a great vibe and I’m really looking forward to another successful Canada Day.”

The Canada Day party will kick off early next Friday morning with the Folk Fest, which begins at 10 a.m. Friday at Prospera Place and runs until 3:30. Other events beginning early include drop in crafts at the Kelowna art gallery, a mini sailboat regatta and the Taste of Canada food fair at Tugboat Beach. Events will take place throughout the downtown core with events for the young and old.

“Our number one goal each time we produce this festival is to make sure it’s fun, family entertainment that will offer a little something for everyone in our community, from toddlers to seniors,” said Renata Mills, executive director of Festivals Kelowna. “We will present attractions like the petting zoo, live music, slam poetry, drop in ball hockey and the perfect summer-time treat: Watermelon.”

Waterfront park will feature activities for children from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the Century 21 Kids Zone presented by the Capital News featuring more than 25 different drop in activities for kids. B.C. artisans and crafters will be selling they wares in the Canada Day Bazaar. The official ceremonies will take place at 12:30 p.m. inside Prospera Place where the cutting of the giant Happy Birthday Canada cake will take place.

“I think this year is going to be even better than years past,” said Festivals Kelowna board president Ed Laverock. “It’s hard to top what we do but the team has really put some great things together this year. There is a lot to see and do and it’s a free event for the whole family so multi-generations can come down and there is something for everyone.”

This year’s Canada Day celebration will mark a sad milestone and will be the first Canada Day event held in Kelowna since the passing of long-time resident and community builder Ben Lee.

“Unfortunately it’s the first time in a long, long time we won’t have Ben Lee with us, but I’m sure we will all be taking some moments to remember our friend Ben,” said Basran. “While every Canada Day is special, this one marks the one year countdown to the sesquicentennial (150th) birthday. It’s going to be a year long celebration and we hope everyone takes part in some aspect large or small.”

To get a hint about events that will celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017 go to

For a schedule of events for this year’s Canada Day go to and follow the link to the Canada Day page.

Cruzeros headline diverse collection of music for Canada Day

With six stages, the long-running Kelowna Folk Fest and one of the most popular bands to ever come out of Kelowna as part of this year’s Canada Day celebration in Kelowna, you might want to dust off your dancing shoes before next Friday.

Fesitvals Kelowna announced on Thursday that the Cruzeros will be headlining Kelowna’s Canada Day party next Friday, appearing at the TD Beach Stage in Tugboat Beach beginning about 8:50 p.m. and leading up to the fireworks display.

“Each year we try to present a unique, high energy, Canada Day themed performer and who better than our very own Canadian Country-Rock stars, The Cruzeros,” said Melissa Sbrega, program coordinator for Fesitvals Kelowna. ‘We were brainstorming earlier in the year about who to present as our headliner and when The Cruzeros idea came up we were all over it. They are wonderful people to work with and are such a talented group of musicians we know it would be a stellar choice.”

The Cruzeros were formed by Curtis Tulman and Barry Mathers. Their first release, a self-titled album in 1996, spawned five charting singles and four videos on CMT as well as a Juno nomination for Country Group of the Year. 2002’s El Nino won the Canadian Independent Music Award for Best Country Album.

While the country rock of The Cruzeros will highlight the musical performances and lead into the fireworks, there is a wide range of musical offerings during Kelowna’s Canada Day celebrations. The 43rd Annual Kelowna FolkFest will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Prospera Place.

Several stages will be going strong throughout the day with a wide array of music for every interest. New this year is the Inspired Word Cafe to be held in Kerry Park from 6 to 10 p.m. where a Poetry Slam Canada Day Throwdown will take place featuring multiple spoken word artists.

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