Kelowna park vendors replaced by one day visual arts festival

Picking up trinkets while strolling through City Park will no longer be possible due to the cancellation of the Arts Alive program.

Picking up trinkets while strolling through City Park will no longer be possible due to the cancellation of the Arts Alive program.

“It’s been on the horizon for quite some time,” said Renata Mills, of Festivals Kelowna, the organization that has been putting on the program that had vendors line the pathway to City Park.

“The program has been slowly waning and our biggest challenge was the limited attendance and the lack of commitment by a good chunk of participating artists.”

Around six vendors who would faithfully set up shop on the strip, while others were much more sporadic. Members of that core group of vendors have expressed concerns that their main source of income has been flattened by the decision, and for that Mills said she’s regretful. But the end of the vendor program is a reflection of the times.

“The customer base started to wear away, too,” she said. “Nobody has money in their hands anymore.”

The program was reviewed in 2014, and that’s when vendors were told that the end would come unless a significant change occurred.

“We even threw extra resources last year as a last kick at the can,” she said, pointing out that they put musical acts and the likes into the park to get the traffic up. All efforts, however, were for naught.

“At the end of the day, we need people to be there so we made the decision in early 2015 to shut it down,” she said. In its place a once-a-year market will be held.

Festivals Kelowna will put on Arts on the Avenue— a one day festival showcasing visual artists and their wares. The 300 block of Bernard Avenue will be closed off fir the event from 5 to 10 p.m. Mills also pointed out that while it’s just a one-off at the moment, it’s success could lead to expansion.

Kelowna Capital News