The annual Street Dance Festival coincides with the weekend of Challenge Penticton – and for the first year organizers are blending the events together.
“It’s going to be the biggest production this year,” said Kerri Milton, executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association. “The Street Dance and Challenge Festival is for everybody. All groups of people, families, athletes – but the main thing is that this is for our locals. We want people to come and just be part of the festival atmosphere, that’s really what matters.”
The event takes place on Aug. 28 and Aug. 30 at Gyro Park and Nanaimo Square, with the 100 and 200 Blocks of Main Street closed to traffic. The festival takes a break from scheduling on Saturday to prevent the Farmer’s Market from being disrupted.
The focus on Aug. 28 will be the street dancing element of the festival. Kicking off the event will be local country musician Beamer Wigley at 7:30 p.m, before Punjabi rockers En Karma take the stage at 8:45 p.m.
“En Karma is coming due to popular demand,” Milton said. “Last year they just shut down the street they were so good.”
Since playing the Street Dance Festival last, En Karma has achieved major success, touring the continent and appearing on the cover of The Province earlier in the summer.
“Part of being a multicultural city is to show different kinds of styles of dance and music. They’re very upbeat, no slow songs, so everybody is dancing all night.”
The streets of downtown will be packed. En Karma will be performing in the Gyro Park Bandshell, and at the same time Barefoot Caravan will be playing up at Nanaimo Square.
“They’re amazing. They’re known as indy rock fusion and they are fantastic – they get everybody dancing.”
She said Barefoot Caravan is one of the favourite bands that perform during the weekly Farmer’s Markets.
On race day for Challenge Penticton, there will be encouraging flare to decorate one of the track’s corridors. Some motivational ornaments will come through Cheryl Mitten of Create and Paint, who will be giving kids the opportunity to make handprint designs to hang along the fence at Gyro Park.
“For the first time ever the runners from Challenge are running through Gyro Park, so everybody will get to cheer them on as they go through.”
Festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with a 30-minute Zumba class.
“That’s interactive for everybody to take part and it’s being put on by Sunrise Pharmacy.”
Following zumba will be Team Xtreme. Members of Team Xtreme perform strongman demonstrations and relate their feats to overcoming adversity and maintaining a positive focus.
“They’re originally from Himalaya and people may have seen them at our Canada Day and BC Day performances,” Milton said. “One of their strongmen ran through four 2×4 boards, and it was on the first attempt ever.”
Entertainment continues until 9 p.m. on Aug. 30, which includes an encore performance by En Karma starting at 1:10 p.m. There will be no cost for anybody to attend because of strong support from local sponsors.
“Royal LePage Location West are our title sponsor, we couldn’t do it without them.”