Forecast turns up the heat for Oliver Sunshine Festival

Oliver Sunshine Festival will have Community Park packed with people in a celebration of summer.

The town of Oliver is planning to double down on the power of the sun, hoping this weekend’s sunny forecast and the town’s Sunshine Festival will have Community Park packed with people in a celebration of summer.

The Sunshine Festival started last year as an effort by Oliver parks and recreation to offer an event following Oliver’s yearly parade.

“Everybody was coming out for this awesome parade, and then going home like half-an-hour later, and I was like, ‘Maybe we should keep people around,’” said Carol Sheridan, festival director.

The festival will feature beverage gardens, live entertainment, vendors, kids’ games and activities, and carnival rides from West Coast Amusements.

However, according to Sheridan, the real heart of the show are the live acts. Lobo Blanco will be delivering up their reggae world beats and Vancouver-based classic rock band Worms Hate Rain will also be making the trip to play Community Park’s band shell. Lastly, Nankama, a west-African drum group will be performing their interactive drum and dance show on Saturday.

“As far as our international component goes, this is what people should come down to see,” said Sheridan.

As well, Penticton musician Mat Duffus will be performing mid-afternoon on Saturday. It will be Duffus’ second time at the festival, and he said he plans on bringing a fun, spontaneous performance that both kids and adults will enjoy.

“I really like to get people out of their shell, and let them discover that they can entertain people and entertain themselves,” he said, adding that he hopes to get as many people as he can on the stage to help him out.

The goal of this year’s festival, Sheridan said, is twofold: for Oliver residents to celebrate the summer and to provide a draw for tourists.

“We’re trying to build the Sunshine Festival in July as a way (for tourists) to come into Oliver and spend a few days here in the summer,” she said.

Building on last year’s success as a local, family-based event, Sheridan said organizers were working to expand this year’s focus and working to turn the festival into a draw for local adults and tourists.

“This year we’ve added a Friday night where we’re still a great time for families, but we’ve kind of tried to say, ‘This is a great way to start your weekend,’ to adults, like come on down, hit the beer garden, we’ve got some great bands on Friday night,” said Sheridan.

On Friday, the festival in Community Park will be open from 5 to 10 p.m., and on the Saturday it will be open following the 10:30 a.m. parade until 5 p.m.