When the sun sinks in the west on Thursday evenings this summer Oliver’s musicians and artists are set to entertain.
A vibrant market and concert series at Oliver Community Park is the result of a new collaboration between Oliver Parks and Recreation and the Oliver Community Arts Council.
“There’s always a lot going on at parks and rec,” said manager Carol Sheridan, “But this event? This is the one I am really excited about. Our goal is to make this the best outdoor concert series and evening market in the South Okanagan, a must do experience for residents and visitors alike.”
Starting June 19, Oliver Parks and Recreation will host a weekly artisan market in Community Park from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. The festival kicks into high gear the following Thursday when Music in the Park moves from the historic CPR Station to the community stage and park for all its performances. The Penticton Concert Band opens the series on June 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Sheridan is responsible for the food vendors and artisan market portion of the weekly festival. She is still accepting vendor applications and extends an invitation to those who wish to promote their art, artisan products, fresh produce, baked goods, preserves or merchandise.
“To ensure a success, we’re making this really affordable for vendors,” she said.
The evening market promises to be a creative place for locals and tourists to shop. Food vendors on site will encourage shoppers to linger until the 6:30 p.m. concert time, with supper picnicking in the park. Children’s activities such as face painting, games, and arts and crafts will be available at most markets.
Musical performances will span the genres from country to classic rock to jazz to indie and world beat. To wind down the evening, the market and food vendors will remain open an extra half hour to 8:30 p.m.
The Music in the Park series will continue to be admission by donation. The 2014 lineup includes the Penticton Concert Band, Nankama Drum and Dance, Aidan Mayes and Mandy Cole, Steve Jones and the Patio Bandits, Divas Night, Nashville singer Andi Zack, Rising Stars Night, and concludes with Jazz Out West on Aug. 21.
Oliver Parks and Recreation will host a special ticketed concert featuring Brickhouse on July 10 to kick off the Sunshine Festival weekend and plans are in the works for a community “Fiesta Mexicana” to close out the season on Sept. 4.
“It’s a win-win for everyone: artists, musicians, Parks and Rec, the arts council, but most of all the audience,” said Penelope Johnson, arts council president.
Others on the joint planning committee are also bursting with optimism about the new venture.
“I was thinking about stepping back this year,” said Sally Franks, “But this is just too exciting to miss.”
Market vendor applications are available on the Oliver Parks and Recreation website www.oliverrecreation.ca or by phoning 250-498-4985.
More information about Music in the Park and arts council memberships is available from OliverCAC@gmail.com.
Also on Thursdays, beginning June 19, the Oliver Country Market A-Fair starts the day off right with wholesome produce available in Lions Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until late September.