A gift of flowers helped brighten the day for this Rutland May Days Parade watcher.

Record crowd for May Days in Kelowna

Close to 30,000 people turn out for Rutland's annual community festival.

  • May. 20, 2013 7:00 a.m.

Close to 30,000 people took in the 54th annual Rutland May Days celebration on the weekend, the biggest crowd ever to attend the celebration.

That included the largest parade ever, as well as the popular West Coast Amusements fair grounds and a stellar lineup of entertainment, drawing 4,000 more people through the gates to continue a renaissance for the community  festival which was in dire straits just four years ago.

“It was amazing, the best turnout yet in attendance,” said organizer Chris Brown.

“Our entertainment lineup was phenomenal, everybody was walking around the grounds smiling. The only complaint I had was when we had to shut down Sunday night. Overall it was great.”

This year’s attendance record  marks a stark turnaround from 2009, when just 4,000 people took in the event.

That was the last year when the fastball tournament and beer gardens were the focal activities of May Days. West Coast Amusements began as part of May Days in 2010 and every year since, as May Days has shown an increase in attendance.

“I attribute the growth to a number of factors,” said Brown.

“The rides attract kids and kids bring their parents.

“Also the acts on the entertainment stage were top notch acts that people will pay to see and are included in the gate admission ($2).

“There is also more awareness of the event now than in the past.”

May Days is the main fundraiser for the Rutland Parks Society, and while final figures are still being tallied, Brown says this year’s event raised between $30,000 and $40,000 for the society.

The proceeds are directed towards improvements to Centennial Park, which is operated under the auspices of the society.

Also this year, admission on Sunday was a non-perishable food item for the Kelowna Community Food Bank.

Brown says the food bank were also one of 21 community groups represented at a community information exhibit held also on Sunday.

As for the May Days parade winners, the winning entries were:

•Best kids entry: Rutland Parent Participation Pre-School

•Best musical entry: Old Time Fiddlers

•Best community entry: Kelowna Ogopogo

•Best non profit entry: Shriners

•Best commercial entry: Cooper’s Foods

kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

Just Posted

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission serves annual Christmas dinner

Between 700 to 800 meals were served Saturday to the community

Your weekend story highlights

Every Saturday, the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

The Paperboys visit Kelowna

Check out the Rotary Centre for the Arts Jan. 27

Let it snow in Kelowna

Snow is in the forecast for this week

Photos: Adventuring in Stuart Park

Have you seen Friday’s edition of the Capital News? Check out the photos featured

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Porter blanks Blades in Rockets’ road trip finale

Rookie netminder stops 40 shots in Kelowna’s last game before Christmas break

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Most Read