Bring your blanket, your sunscreen, your chairs and park it in Gyro park for the day is Kerri Milton’s advice for Canada Day.
“It is going to be a full day,” said the executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association, which is sponsoring the Canada Day Celebrations for the third year.
Throughout the day on July 1 and up to the start of the fireworks in the evening, the flow of entertainers across the stage in Gyro Park is sure to keep the crowd entertained, with dancers, gymnasts and musicians.
“We have unbelievable music talent. The ending headliner of the night is Tiller’s Folly and they are an awesome Celtic band,” said Milton. “It was really important to me to make it multicultural, so we have all kinds of dance and music from a variety of cultures this year.”
There will be plenty to do for the kids as well, with Andy’s Animal Acres bringing a petting zoo and the pony rides, along LocoLanding bringing their monkey bounce ride over.
“And we have bouncy castles filling up the 100 block again,” said Milton. “We have the usual dignitaries and the cake cutting at noon as well as the 2015 Miss Penticton candidates.”
Like last year, Cues, Brodo Kitchen and Bad Tattoo have partnered to set up a family dining area again, under the trees with a white picket fence.
“It is a full, full schedule. It is starting at 8 a.m. and it is going right through the fireworks at 10:30 p.m.,” said Milton. “One of the biggest mandates for the DPA is building community and there is no better way to build community than to celebrate Canada’s Birthday.”
Kicking off the day is the annual pancake breakfast, sponsored for years by Quota International, which has joined forces with the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.
Funds raised through the event assist Quota’s local community projects for disadvantaged women and children including South Okanagan Women in Need Society, plus the deaf and hard of hearing.
Crystal Berry is Quota’s volunteer co-ordinator who participated in the pancake breakfast for the first time last year.
“I was just amazed at the number of people lining up for pancake breakfasts. The line-up was just huge, it went around the block even,” said Berry. “It was amazing to see how many people come out and are supportive. I think we have a great community involvement in that way.”
When the pancake breakfast is done, Quota and SOWINS will be serving up hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch. Berry said it is an exhausting day that she loves to be involved in.
“Probably one of our biggest challenges is having enough people in at the right times,” said Berry, noting that they are still looking for volunteers.
“We will take volunteers right up until that morning,” said Berry, adding that anyone wanting to lend a hand can contact her at 250-486-0768 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The day wraps up, as it has since 1994, with fireworks sponsored by the Lakeside Resort.
“We have been sponsoring and running the fireworks because Canada Day is such an iconic, important event,” said Brannigan Boyd, director of sales and marketing for the resort.
She explains that community involvement is important to the resort, and they want to ensure that the community doesn’t need to leave town for Canada Day fireworks.
“We hate to see people leave Penticton. We definitely know there are people that leave and go down to Osoyoos, so that is why we have the aim to keep the community here on such an important occasion,” said Boyd. “We also want to see the tourists stay here.”
In past years, the Lakeside footed the bill for the fireworks, but with rising costs, they have encouraged businesses and individuals to join in. She says they have raised about $15,000 of this year’s $20,000 goal so far.
Boyd said they have developed a good relationship with Skyline Fireworks over the years.
“Every year, they have always given us extra time on top, which is very kind on their part. They always throw in some extras,” said Boyd. “Probably, we are looking at a 15-minute show starting at 10:30 p.m.”