Santa will be taking time out of his busy holiday schedule to make an appearance at the Downtown Penticton Association’s Winter Festival.
The Winter Festival starts with the Downtown Penticton Christmas Market featuring 25 local vendors offering up a variety of wares spanning from clothing to cheese all located in the Valley First Theatre, formerly known as the Penmar Theatre at 361 Martin St.
The market opens Friday at 5 p.m. and runs throughout the weekend with a special visit from Santa at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, when he will be taking pictures and spreading his trademark holiday cheer prior to hopping on his sleigh for the 18th Annual Royal LePage Locations West and Downtown Penticton Santa Clause Parade.
The parade starts on White Avenue at 4:30 p.m. and heads north down Main Street, finishing up at Veterans Way.
Free hot chocolate, apple cider and coffee will be offered up by Cowork Penticton between Nanaimo Avenue and Wade Avenue to help parade goers stay warm.
The parade pre-show starts at 4:20 p.m. with a performance by dancers from the Okanagan Dance Studios.
“They have a whole dance routine they have put together. They’re going to come down to every block and stop and do this awesome routine,” said Kerri Milton, executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association.
There are currently 31 floats confirmed for the parade featuring local groups and businesses as well as the Penticton Fire Department, RCMP, Search and Rescue and ambulance services.
Some of the floats include the Air Cadets, the Penticton Pipe Band, who will offer up some music as well, and, of course, Santa’s sleigh.
Last year saw a slight dip in attendance due to the cold weather, but this year the forecast is calling for a moderate — 1 C and Downtown Penticton is anticipating a good turnout.
“Generally speaking we have about 1,000 people who come out. It gets packed,” Milton said.
The Presbyterian Church is also holding their rendition of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe with performances prior to and after the parade.
“We hope that the weather is beautiful, of course, and we hope to bring a lot of people downtown so everyone can get some shopping done on their Christmas list,” Milton said.