Downtown Kelowna will be a sea of red and white this weekend as the community gathers to celebrate the birth of a nation.
Loads of live entertainment, family-friendly activities, food and shopping options have been lined up to keep Canada Day festival goers rapt throughout Sunday, and if all goes according to plan it could very well be the party of the year.
“Last year we had 55,000 people coming through Prospera Place and Waterfront Park,” Renata Mills, the executive director of Festivals Kelowna, adding that the “scope and scale” of this year’s event trumps all past.
And, despite its size, the festival is always a hotbed of positivity.
“There is zip in terms of trouble,” she said. “Everyone’s in a good mood…are well behaved and cheerful. People are so willing to say they’re proud Canadians on this day.”
Locals should also be proud of the bumper crop of musical talent that’s performing for the event.
Everything from big band music to country crooners and critically acclaimed indie bands will be onstage throughout the day.
“Kelowna is spoiled rotten with local talent,” said Mills, noting she may have had a role planning the event, but she’s just as excited as everyone else to see all the performances.
The only problem is, it’s going to be hard to hit all the bands that lead up to the nighttime fireworks show.
Making planning easier, however, is a tech savvy spin on this year’s celebrations.
In addition to the paper schedule that’s annually made available, those who are smartphone focused can get a screen-sized copy of the events.
“We’re going to do a text campaign,” she said.
To stay in the know, event goers just need to text the word “schedule” to 54500.
Once there they’ll be linked to an itinerary of events, and one more integral part of the festival.
A PayPal site has been set up so those who’d like to donate a couple of dollars can do so.
In years past there’s been a donation booth set up, but Mills pointed out that festival goers head to events of that kind with a limited amount of cash on hand and sometimes a donation isn’t top of mind.
“This will make it easy to make a donation if they wish to,” she said.
Lineup of events
Prospera Place will feature:
• Official Celebrate Canada Day Opening Ceremonies, including a Happy Birthday Canada cake at around 1:30 p.m.
• 39th Annual Kelowna Folkfest Celebrations presenting Canada’s cultural mosaic through culinary experiences and live performances
• 18th Annual Kelowna POPS Orchestra Canada Day Spectacular—a live orchestral concert. The concert ends in time for the audience to enjoy the fireworks.
Waterfront Park will feature the 15th annual Celebrate Canada Day-Kelowna event including:
• Taste of Canada—a food fair featuring over 18 different vendors
• Made in Canada Marketplace, an artisan showcase of handmade, Canadian arts and crafts
• Canada Day Bazaar, a marketplace of unique items by local small businesses
• Community Groups Display, information displays by local community associations
• Parks Alive! Power Stage are at the Island Stage from 12:30 to 9:30 p.m.
• TD Beach Stage at Tugboat Bay beach runs from noon to 10:30 p.m.
• Tim Hortons Kid’s Stage at Pioneer Gardens runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Youth Stage at Jim Stuart Park runs from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
• Folk Fest stage in Prospera Place is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Canada Day Spectacular at Prospera Place takes place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
• Century 21 Kids Zone, 11a.m.to 4 p.m.
• Evening Fireworks Display at 10:30 p.m.