”Kelowna loves to be on the cutting edge of new and cool and different.”
With that comment, Festivals Kelowna executive director Renata Mills is set to welcome back a full program of events for 2022. For the last two years, COVID-19 has forced the scaling back of many activities for the organization, and the cancellation of two of its most popular events, New York New Year’s Eve and summertime favourite Celebrate Canada Day Kelowna.
“At this point, we are full-steam ahead,” said Mills. “We are booking performers, we’re talking with participants at the event and looking at all kinds of engagement activities for the community. With the closure of Bernard Avenue again with the Meet Me on Bernard program, it’s going to be even better.”
After Canada Day the next big event is the Parks Alive program, running through July and August. It has been entertaining the community since 1998.
“2022 will see us return to what I consider our full-scale, regular number of concerts,” explained Mills. “We will be presenting live concerts featuring 80 per cent local, Lake Country to Peachland artists, primarily Kelowna, combined with a number of artists coming through our community.”
Parks Alive starts July 5 and runs five nights a week until August 27, at venues such as Waterfront Park and Kerry Park as well as rotating through other parks in the community. Festival Kelowna’s Visual Arts event is also returning.
“It’s called Arts on the Avenue,” said Mills. “Generally we have 60 plus visual artists and crafters who will be selling their handmade works of art, and we’ll have some art engagement opportunities. It’s meant to showcase and celebrate another aspect of the arts in our community.”
The popular Buskers on Bernard, which has been around for 20-plus years, is making a comeback as well.
“This is a way for us to showcase and highlight some of the cooler, more unique buskers that are part of our program,” said Mills. “Our plan is to feature them along the lakefront and Bernard Avenue and along the downtown walkway areas in a two-hour, mini busker festival idea.”
“You’ve got the lake, and you’ve got all the amenities,” added Mills. “The golf, the wine, the food, the new brewing district, and the weather nine times out of ten is very conducive to festival experiences.”
That includes winter weather, as the New York New Year’s Eve is on the schedule this year after being left out in the cold by the pandemic for the last two years.
“This will be like similar years in that we’ll have live music, drop-in activities, fireworks, all the fun and games,” said Mills.
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