There are no shortage of ways to ring in the 149th year of Confederation as the Canada Day weekend approaches in the South Okanagan.
A giant waterslide, music, fireworks, food and much more are on tap for the most Canadian day of the year.
“Definitely it will be one of the busiest weekends in Penticton this summer. We have almost full capacity at all our accommodations which is great. There is a lot of different things happening and great additions to the tourism industry for sure,” said Kelly Hopkins, executive director of Tourism Penticton.
After the Penticton Elvis Festival and Peach City Beach Cruise segued nicely into summer, Hopkins said tourism season is officially kicked into high gear for Penticton.
“It really starts to hit now with school being out and people starting to travel. We are expecting higher numbers than traditionally on this weekend but tourism in general is expected to do well this summer because with the high U.S. dollar people will be staying in province doing staycations,” said Hopkins.
Celebrate Canada’s birthday in Gyro Park in Penticton with festivities from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. culminating with the fireworks display sponsored by EllisDon along Okanagan Lake at 10:30 p.m. The 13th annual Quota Canada fundraiser starts in Gyro Park with a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. until noon. Opening ceremonies and a cake cutting take place at noon.
The breakfast is $6 and includes hotcakes, Summerland Sweets syrup, sausages, juice coffee or tea. The breakfast is $4 for those ages 10 and under. A barbecue and concession will be continuing after noon until 7 p.m.
The fundraiser assists Quota’s local projects including the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre.
Those looking to ramp up the excitement of their Canada Day weekend can take a ride down Vancouver Avenue when Slide the City visits for one day only. Vancouver Avenue will be closed for the day and the slide will be operating 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you want to get some time on the water, the Red Bull Open Water Party may be for you. The one-of-a-kind floating DJ showcase will have tunes pumping near Rotary Park from 1 to 4 p.m. The first 50 people to arrive receive a floaty.
The Summerland Legion Branch 22 is hosting a Canada Day picnic in Summerland from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Memorial Park.
The event starts with the Kiwanis breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and includes a flag raising ceremony at 11 a.m. A free Canada Day cake is on hand and free barbecue, ice cream and pop will be on hand. Kids games, prizes, a bouncy castle and face painting will also be available.
Providing good eats all weekend is the Rotary Rib Festival. The festival is still seeking a few volunteers for the weekend to help fill 2.5 to three-hour time slots. Rib Fest is staying open until 11 p.m. Canada Day so you can enjoy a rack of ribs with your fireworks. Running from June 30 to July 3 the festival features four professional ribbers; two from Ontario, one from Albert and one from B.C.
This year Bogner’s is providing vegetarian meals as well. Entrance to the Rib Festival is free, including live entertainment and a kids zone, and you only pay for what you eat or drink or purchase from vendors. Entertainment during the three-day festival includes Lucy Blu and the Blue Boys, local rockers Cosmic Brew as well as Maritime Kitchen Party.
Those further south in the Okanagan Valley can listen to the patriotic sounds of the Legion Colour Party Pipe Band at Kenyon Park in Okanagan Falls beginning at 1 p.m. with the celebration continuing until 4 p.m. with games and cake on deck. Finish off your day at the Legion Branch 227 with a meat draw, 50/50 draw and dinner at 5 p.m. and Wendy Rodocker providing live music at 6:30 p.m.
A free pancake breakfast is being hosted by the Oliver Community Centre starting 8:30 a.m. and if you’ve got a taste for cherries, head down to Osoyoos for the 68th annual Cherry Fiesta starting with the Rotary Pancake Breakfast at 7 a.m., the Cherry Fiesta Parade at 11 a.m. down Main Street. A beer garden and live entertainment will be hosted at the Osoyoos Legion Hall and children’s activities take place at Gyro Beach from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Cherry Pit Spit takes place on the beach from 4:30 to 5 p.m.
The Penticton Scottish Festival will be running in Kings Park on July 2 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with Highland Games, entertainment, food vendors and more.
Please note this article previously stated Summerland Canada Day events were happening at Summerland Waterfront Resort and Spa. This mistake has been corrected in the story.