The inaugural mashup of two annual events in Penticton was a major success.
To make room for massive crowds, automobiles were restricted against travelling through downtown last weekend for the Street Dance and Challenge Festival, which was sponsored by Royal Lepage Location West.
“At Gyro Park there was nobody sitting – everybody was on their feet dancing,” said Kerri Milton, an organizer of the event and executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association.
On Friday night, different styles of music were being heard from two downtown locations – Bhangra rockers En Karma headlined the bandshell at Gyro, while a portable stage was assembled at the intersection of Nanaimo Avenue and Main Street, where crowds could enjoy local musicians Aidan Mayes and Mandy Cole.
In between the two stages, the roads were closed and a vendor market was active.
The party continued again on Sunday with the schedule of events catering towards the participants of Challenge Penticton.
Upon reaching Gyro Park, the running course guided participants right in front of the bandshell.
“What was awesome was having the runners run through Gyro Park as part of the race, it made people feel really connected,” Milton said. “As I was working the gates we had to let people pass through the running field, and people were dancing as they were running by.”
Later during her shift, Milton said towards the end of the Challenge event she was approached by an athletic man who was walking with a limp and carrying his shoes in his hands.
“He stopped me and said. ‘do you see me holding my shoes?’ So I asked if he was alright. And he said, ‘I just danced my face off – this is the most fun I’ve ever had!’”
In high spirits, the man gleefully shared that he would continue limping down Main Street in his bare feet.
With the two events now operating co-operatively, Challenge changed its scheduling of the carb load dinner on Sunday to take place at Okanagan Lake Park, which is just a stone’s throw from downtown Penticton.
“So everybody who was at the carb load dinner poured onto the streets at 8 o’clock, and they had a lot of fun.”