Summerland Action Festival ready to kick off summer

Summerland Action Festival kicks off summer in the South Okanagan with a slo-pitch tournament, parade, live entertainment and more.

Jodie Brennen of the Summerland Beavers swings during a game at last year’s Summerland Action Festival slo-pitch tournament. The tournament attracted 74 teams from around the province.

Involved with Summerland’s Action Festival for 24 years, chairman Patrick Bell said his definition of a successful event is seeing all the smiles on people’s faces.

“It’s nice to see it all roll together. If we have decent weather and I see everyone enjoy themselves, it is a success and we have had that for the 32 years it has been held,” said Bell. “We have gotten bigger and better every year with some 15,000 to 20,000 people coming through last year. It is a really great way to kick off summer.”

Three days of free, live entertainment, a 72-team slo-pitch tournament, Giant’s Head Run, Man of Steel triathlon, a parade and tons of things to do for the whole family are planned for the 32nd annual Summerland Action Festival, June 6 to 8.

This year sees the return of the midway rides after a seven-year absence. They will be located in Memorial Park.

“We definitely heard from the public that they missed having the midway around, but because of scheduling we couldn’t get one here for Action Fest for a few years. Now, they are back. It gives something for the teens and kids aged 11 to 18 to do,” said Bell.

Action Fest staples are also returning, including the slo-pitch tournament, the FortisBC parade on Saturday morning with the Critteraid Mutt Strut starting at 10 a.m. and the Action Fest Dance at the Summerland Arena from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The feature band at the dance is March Hare, a party-band based out of Vancouver that can take audiences on a musical journey throughout the decades.

This is the only live entertainment act where tickets are required. They are $10 each and available in advance only at Mac’s, Bell Jacoe & Co. and at the Kinsmen beverage garden in Memorial Park.

Doors open at 9 p.m. and minors are not allowed entrance.

All the other live entertainment is free and takes place at the Memorial Park Bandshell. A fireworks display, sponsored by Appleton Waste Service Inc.,  will light up the sky at 10:20 p.m. on Friday.

“Community support has absolutely been the real key for us because we don’t charge for entertainment in the park. We have to rely on all our sponsors and the community response has been fantastic,” said Bell. “There are not many other events in the area that you can come to and have so much fun without spending a penny.”

On Friday, No Fixed Address, followed by The Saint James, will kick things off on the stage starting at 6 p.m.

The headliner for the evening is Barracuda – A Tribute to Heart, on stage at 8:50 p.m. Saturday is dedicated to local acts starting at 11 a.m. with the junior talent showcase featuring Tiana Ferlizza, Katie Sterk and Beamer Wigley. They will be followed by children’s entertainer Mat Duffus, Penticton’s Plan C, the Slam Dogs, Worms Hate Rain and Juno award-winning Pugs and Crows at 5:30 p.m.

On Sunday, an interdenominational church service takes place on the main stage at 10 a.m. followed by entertainer Duffus, Silent Alarm, Jo and the Soul, Worms Hate Rain, Papa Wheely and the headliner, LegZZ – A Tribute to ZZ Top takes the stage at 4 p.m.

As for the action portion of the three-day festival, slo-pitch games will start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday on all fields and will continue until Sunday afternoon with the tournament award presentations made at the beverage gardens at 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Park.

On Saturday, The Man of Steel Triathlon starts at 7 a.m., wrist wrestling will take place in the beverage gardens starting at noon and the Giant’s Head Run starts at 6 p.m.

The Kiwanis Club of Summerland will host a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. in Memorial Park on both Saturday and Sunday. Vendors will be in the park on all three days. For more information or for a full schedule of entertainment and events visit www.summerlandactionfestival.com.

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