Peach Fest float topping parades

The Peach Festival float is staying home this weekend for the Shriners’ Parade, which starts from the SS Sicamous at 9:30 a.m. on May 30.

Miss Penticton Shauna Morrow

Miss Penticton Shauna Morrow

After a busy month so far this May, the Peach Festival float is staying home this weekend to take part in the Shriners’ Parade, giving the community their first chance this year to get out and cheer on our local representatives.

“We thought we should keep it home and support the Shriners. The Shriners are big participants in the Peach Fest parade,” said Don Kendall, Peach Festival president.

Miss Penticton Shauna Morrow, centre, was joined by princesses Allison Smith, left, and Sinclaire Lovett on top the town sign on a rainy visit with the Peach Festival float to the Spokane Lilac Festival earlier this month.

The float has participated in seven parades this year, five just in the past month. The Shriner’s Parade, which starts from the SS Sicamous at 9:30 a.m. on May 30, brings the total to six over the five weekends in May.

The latest was a visit to the 44th annual Hyack Parade in New Westminster on May 23, where the float took first place in the Judges Award for local community floats. Then it was a stop in Ladner on the way home to take part in the 119th Pioneer May Day parade, where the float scored another prize, taking second for best themed float.

The previous weekend was an unusually rainy day in Spokane for the Lilac Festival parade. The rain may have been good for the lilacs, but the inclement weather forced Miss Penticton Shauna Morrow and her princesses to do some quick costume changes from gowns to their winter white fur coats and black slacks.

According to the float driver, it didn’t dampen the ladies’ spirits much, or those of others in the parade, who danced and sang under an overpass while waiting for the parade to start.

Kendall said the value of having the float on tour shouldn’t be underestimated.

“In many cases, it is the only opportunity for people to get to see something about Penticton and get reminded of what a great place it is. The float and the royalty that travel with the float are great ambassadors for the city,” he said.

Sending the float out to all these events, according to Kendall, gives good return on the money invested by the City of Penticton, Peach Festival and the Penticton Hospitality Association, one of its major sponsors.

“They also go to larger parades like the Calgary Stampede and the Seattle Seafair that are televised and not only seen by tens of thousands of people on the parade route, but millions of people on television,” he said, noting that Peach Fest was the only Canadian float in the 2014 Seattle Seafair parade last year, the biggest parade in the northwest. “It’s a great value for our marketing dollar.”