The Peters Bros. 70th annual Grand Parade once again more than lived up to its name as thousands of people packed downtown city streets on this year’s revised route Saturday morning for the 90-minute extravaganza.
“This is just incredible, we’ve really never seen anything like this,” said Annette Williams, who was visiting Penticton with her three children from Spokane, Wa. and decided to take in the parade. “There is just so much to see and it just keeps going and going.”
There were almost 100 entries for the event.
“We had some fantastic U.S. floats, some great Canadian floats too, but it’s great to see such a great participation from the United States,” said Peachfest president Don Kendall after the final float made its way across the Lakeshore Drive finish line at the SS Sicamous. “It was fantastic, great crowd and everybody had a wonderful time.”
As usual, starting things off for 2017 was the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team whose precision, fast-paced manoeuvres within the street boundaries had spectators gasping.
“One of the reasons we changed the route was so the motorcycle drill team could perform,” said Kendall. “They’ve been leading our parade for many, many years and they thanked us for changing the route so they could still continue to come to the Peach Festival parade.”
Downtown revitalization on Main Street necessitated the route change to accommodate the drill team.
The new route began at Eckhardt Avenue, north on Main Street to Wade Avenue, right on Winnipeg Street and left on Lakeshore all the way to the Sicamous.
Kendall, whose wife Teresa was this year’s parade chair, said a “lot of time and effort” went into letting the public know about the changes, adding everything went very smoothly.
He noted Main Street and Lakeshore Drive in some spots were lined up four and five people deep while in other areas those watching all had a front row seat.
Grand Parade winners this year included the President’s Choice, the Cranbrook Horses Canada 150 float, the Awesome Blossom Washington State Apple Blossom Festival float was first in the community over 25,000 category with second going to the Hyack Festival entry.
In the under 25,000 category it was the Autumn Leaf Festival float in first with second going to the City of Trail.
Top spot in the non- commercial division was Falun Dafa Association while Open Air Adventures was tops on the commercial side and Victory Church was the novelty trophy winners.
“We’ve had unbelievable crowds every night, Okanagan Lake Park has been packed every night people are really having a good time and it’s amazing,” said Kendall. “I think Peachfest does so much for the community. “The vibe from both locals and tourists is incredible. I talked to a couple from Edmonton who come every year and they said: “How do you do it? How can a town this size put on a festival like this?’”