New paint on Main Street takes the cake

Main Street Matters contest celebratory party on May 10 to kick off paint refresh of Penticton's downtown.

Gigi Huscroft of the Cupcake Lady Cafe with the storefront portion of her cake creation celebrating the start of Main Street Matters which takes place Saturday. The cake

Gigi Huscroft of the Cupcake Lady Cafe with the storefront portion of her cake creation celebrating the start of Main Street Matters which takes place Saturday. The cake

Recent weeks of wet weather put plans for a makeover of two blocks on Penticton’s Main Street on hold, but the project is back on, along with a celebratory party Saturday.

“It was supposed to start April 21 and the rain pushed it back until April 28, that is when they actually started,” said Kerri Milton, executive director of the downtown Penticton Association, adding that power washing buildings in the 300 and 400 blocks of Main Street is underway, with painting getting started on Thursday.

It’s all a result of the community casting enough votes in an online contest last spring to get Penticton into the top 20 communities of Benjamin Moore’s Main Street Matters contest, and winning paint and services to refresh two blocks Main Street.

“The residents and businesses of Penticton got behind the project with such enthusiasm it is an honour we were selected as one of three Canadian cities,” said Milton.

The party gets underway at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, with speeches and then the official cutting of an immense cake commissioned from Penticton’s own Cupcake Lady Café.

“It is supposed to be a big party to celebrate our Main Street,” said Milton. “There will be activities all like an old-style photo booth, face painting, a bouncy castle and music from DJ Shakes through to 1 p.m. in the street. “They just want a big party atmosphere.”

When Gigi Huscroft, aka “The Cup Cake Lady,” was approached by a Benjamin Moore representative about constructing an edible storefront re-creation cake capable of feeding upwards of 500 people, she didn’t hesitate to take on the challenge.

“Although I’d never done a cake that size — it was huge — it was just a matter of planning and I didn’t want to go to Kelowna and so I said yes,” said Huscroft, who owns the Front Street Cup Cake Cafe which the company rep just happen to stumble across during an earlier visit here. “Yes there were times I was worried we couldn’t do it, just the engineering necessary, we had to make sure it would stand up straight and not wobble over and transport it as well, it’s mind boggling.”

The cake will be part of the Saturday’s celebrations and simply because of its sheer magnitude will have to be reassembled and the final icing on the cake done on site. Gigi also credited the decorating talents of her husband Derek (which he did not want people to know about) with the success of the end result.

“I’m just so proud of this, especially for Penticton,” said Gigi. “It was a super delight to do this.”

Representatives from the company said they were working closely with the Downtown Penticton Association and the owners of the local Benjamin Moore franchise, Tracy and John Kelly to determine which blocks would get the makeover, and what the colour palette would be. Sharon Grech will be on hand tomorrow to represent Benjamin Moore at the party.

“She is actually the one that put together the colour palette for the city,” said Milton. Planning that, she said, started with the city’s “Vibrant Penticton” vision statement to select the 13 colours being used for the project.

“I really wanted colours that were bright and made the whole block stand out, so they used that as the jump off point,” said Milton. “It ended up there are some blues, some greens, some golds, and one they  call flint, which is kind of a dark grey that has colour speckles in it.”

Reflecting the commitment made by Benjamin Moore to work with local contractors on the project, the painting work is being done by Sylvain Levasseur and his team at Levasseur Painting and Design.

The painting project is expected to be finished by the end of June.

For more event information please see www.downtownpenticton.org or the Downtown Penticton Association Face book page.

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