(Left to right): West Kelowna 2nd Vice Ambassador Byllie Grover

Hot start to West Kelowna fun fest

Westside Daze will kick off on Saturday and run through Canada Day.

When Westside Daze begins on Saturday, there won’t be any shortage of food.

Leah Thordarson, President of Westside Daze, said for the first time ever this year they had to turn away some vendors.  While not having room for all of them was certainly a positive, Thordarson noted she didn’t like turning them down and would have loved to find more space for them.

The final week before any festival is usually a very hectic time for organizers, but Thordarson explained that wasn’t the case this year.

“Most years there are so many snakes we have to deal with at the last minute,” she said.  “But this team is absolutely amazing.  Our meetings are quick, they’re easy, everyone has everything under control, and it looks like it’s going to be a phenomenal event with everything on track and on time.  We’re really excited that it’s actually starting.”

With temperature forecasts ranging from the mid 30’s to low 40’s over the weekend, the festival will be providing ways to get out of the sun and cool off.  There will be a mist tent, several air conditioned buildings and even an air conditioned teepee at Okanagan Day on Sunday.

A brand new event was added to Westside Daze this year, the West Kelowna Youth Ambassador Program.  While future plans intend to hold the program over the course of Westside Daze, due to scheduling issues it was forced to take place on June 13th.  The Youth Ambassador Program was open to grade nine to eleven students and trained and then tested them on many different skills.

“You learn so much, especially the public speaking,” said Molly Buckberry, who was named West Kelowna Ambassador.  “Some of my friends were really shy going into the program and they came out so changed as a person because they were so comfortable in their own skin and they learned so many confidence things.”

While many traditional skills such as cooking and interviewing were featured, some unexpected twists were thrown in, such as car mechanics.  Ten youth participated in the program, and 1st Vice Ambassador Brittany Osinga described why she was interested in participating.

“I’ve mostly been into sports programs and music and when I heard about this on the Westside Daze webpage, it immediately sparked an interest,” she said.”  We learned so much about etiquette, how to present ourselves in front of large groups of people like public speaking.  Just the ability to be able to represent our community to other ones was really interesting.”

With the West Kelowna Youth Ambassador Program already unofficially kicking off Westside Daze, Thordarson knows what she will looking for from June 27th to July 1st.

“One of the biggest joys for myself and the committee is people attending Westside Daze and seeing the smiles on their faces,” she explained.  “The wonder that we can put this all on and it’s not costing them a penny unless they buy something from a vendor or from a food truck.  All the events we put on, including the outdoor concerts are all completely free.  We’ve had people that came out just to see what was going on and stayed for five days.  So if you’ve never tried Westside Daze give it a try, and it’s ideal for everyone.”

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