The woman in charge of Kelowna’s annual Canada Day festivities says the popular July 1 event will go ahead this year “with a bang.”
But that bang won’t be from the usual day-ending fireworks show.
Renata Mills, executive director of Festivals Kelowna said Thursday, as a result of the recent rise in Okanagan lake levels, the annual fireworks show has been moved to the B.C. Day long weekend at the beginning of August.
“It was a tough decision,” said Mills. “But one we felt we had to make.”
She said the safety of the public and the quality of their experience at the festival was top of mind in making the decision.
According to Mills, with an expected crowd of 30,000—15,000 of whom congregate in Waterfront Park alone—and very little beach thanks to the higher than ever level of the Lake, it was felt there was just not enough room.
She added that with fencing and flood protection measures still in place and the washrooms in the park not even re-opened yet due to the flood problems, the visitor experience would not have been what it usually is.
But, she added, the plan is to have all the other scheduled events—some in different locations—go ahead to celebrate of Canada’s 150th birthday.
This year, that celebration will be more of a street party.
Events will run all day to 10:30 p.m. on July 1 and there will be locations along Water Street from Kerry Park to Waterfront Park, including Stuart Park, where activities and entertainment will be available. The events usually held on the Island Stage in Waterfront Park will move to a replacement stage in Stuart Park.
The section of Water Street between Sunset and Cawston, which is usually closed during the Canada Day celebrations will have stages at either end offering entertainment, said Mills.
Festivals Kelowna has posted all the information about this year’s Canada Day event on its webpage at festivalskelowna.com.
Meanwhile, the fireworks show, which will now go Aug. 5 at 9:30 p.m. may also be part of a bigger show, said Mills. She said work is currently being done on incorporating other events that day.