From the theatre, arena, TV and movies — the South Okanagan is busy producing great artists or bringing them to the area to entertain.
Here are some of the highlights from 2017.
Theatre going strong in Penticton
The scene backstage 10 years ago at the first-ever Many Hats Theatre Company production is going to be a far cry from this year.
Original co-op member Ed Schneider described it in one word.
“Nerve-wracking,” said Schneider. “I cannot speak for everybody else, but we were all terrified we essentially had to cough up the money to do all of this. We had no machinery, if you know what I mean.”
Schneider and fellow original co-op members Ross Arnot and the man who helped start it all, Eric Hanston had no idea how many people were going to show up to the first show, Maggie’s Getting Married.
The co-op continues to produce quality theatre in Penticton with different members stepping up at different times and roles shifting and changing in each production whether that’s acting, directing or any other role.
Amazing concerts, events at the SOEC
The South Okanagan Events Centre keeps bringing big name concerts and acts to the city that pack the complex.
From Blue Rodeo, Dirks Bentley, Weezer, I Love the 90s Tour, Foreigner, Jerry Seinfeld, Offspring and more — 2017 was an unforgettable year of entertainment.
And, again, the SOEC unlocked free concert and events for one lucky person in their Key to the SOEC contest. Christy Petersen, whose husband had never even been to a concert before, beat out over 6,000 entries to win tickets to every event at the SOEC for a year.
“It’s just such a great venue. Everyone is always very friendly, very welcoming and they keep everyone nice and safe. Its just always been a really good time,” said Petersen.
South Okanagan actor lands role in Riverdale
Reading his cousin’s Archie comics years ago, it would be hard for a young Cody Kearsley to imagine he would be bringing one of those roles to life on TV.
The Oliver/Penticton actor is taking on one of pop culture’s most iconic roles in the smash-hit series Riverdale playing Moose Mason.
“It was very cool I grew up on (the comics). I knew the comics very well. My cousins had a huge collection of them. It was cool because it’s set in a modern day and it’s a lot darker. Each character has a darker backstory,” said Kearsley. “We got to bring these characters to life in a modern sense, in a different time.”
Okanagan becoming Hollywood North
Already earning the reputation of Napa of the North, the Okanagan is looking to take the title of little Hollywood North.
“There is all this product to make and Vancouver is getting saturated so we are looking very sexy,” said Jon Summerland, Okanagan Film Commissioner.
With a number of films and commercials already being shot in the region, Summerland said experienced crew and new infrastructure will only boost the Okanagan’s saleability. In November, a film studio opened in Vernon and another soundstage was approved to be built in Kelowna at a location near the airport.
Peachfest celebrates 70 years
In January The Penticton Peach Festival announced headliners in what they called the greatest entertainment line-up in their 70-year history.
Kicking off the free, five-day festival was one of Canada’s greatest groups, 5440. Entertainment for the week also included Trooper, Aaron Pritchett, the Powder Blues Band and the popular Mega Motocross. The SkyHawks, Canadian Forces Snowbirds and CF-18 Hornet fighter jet demonstration shows added to the fun.
The Grand Tour rolls into town
Christian Howe heard rumours of his gear-head idols filming their TV show in the South Okanagan, so naturally he set out to find them.
Catching a convoy of cars at a Penticton hotel, Howe got to briefly meet up with the former hosts of Top Gear. Howe believed they were in the area filming the second season of The Grand Tour, which is an Amazon original series.