Aboriginal Day gets off to an early start in Penticton

The En’owkin Centre will host a traditional sunrise ceremony at 5 a.m. Friday

It seems fitting that events on the longest day of the year should get started at the crack of dawn.

The En’owkin Centre at the Penticton Indian Reserve will kick off Aboriginal Day Friday with their traditional sunrise ceremony at 5 a.m., followed by a five-km run starting from the centre.

Registration for the run starts at 8 a.m, with the run itself starting at 9 a.m. Next up is a pancake breakfast at En’owkin, starting at 10 a.m.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., PIB Health is sponsoring baseball, soccer and other games at the band’s sports fields. But in a break from recent tradition, the Ooknakane Friendship Centre is hosting a separate celebration, starting at noon and taking place in their parking lot at 146 Ellis St. in Penticton.

Organizer Karlen Delaurier-Lyle said there will be a variety of entertainment all afternoon for both adults and kids.

“There is going to be a hoop dancer and other live performers. There are going to be singers, drummers and there is going to be some info booths and some local crafts tables,” she said. “We’re going to have a grass dancer and then there is a storyteller coming at 4 p.m.”

There will also be a fundraising barbecue all afternoon, then a 5 p.m. celebrants will have a choice of two activities. They can either join a second five-km run at En’owkin or stay at the Friendship Centre, which is putting on a free salmon dinner for the first 200 people.

Then at 8 p.m., En’owkin wraps up the day with a traditional stickgame (men vs women) either in the centre or at the ball field, depending on the weather.