Making Kelowna ‘moved’
Photo: City of Kelowna
After nearly five years of work, the City of Kelowna draws the curtain on its grand plan to fill the calendar and support the local events industry.
On Monday, the city council will look at the final draft of the city’s event strategy, a broad 10-year plan aimed at returning Kelowna to a “moved city.”
The city has been toying with the idea of bringing a signature event to Kelowna for years. While Penticton has Peachfest and Vernon has its Winter Carnival, Kelowna has decades to look back at the Regatta since it was home to a truly iconic event.
Public consultation as part of shaping the event strategy shows that 71 percent of residents want the city’s next signature event to be music-focused. Retail, history, watersports and competition opportunities were also popular focuses.
“A city-led organizing committee made up of community residents is currently planning a one-day family-oriented event for Saturday, Aug. 27,” a report to the council accompanying the events strategy said.
Details about the August event have not been disclosed.
The strategy notes that most events hosted in Kelowna are smaller events with fewer than 500 attendees or weddings. Most events are held in the downtown or surrounding area.
Survey respondents reported feeling that there are currently not enough different events throughout the year, and when asked what barriers contributed to not attending events, the majority of respondents cited lack of awareness and cost as the most important reasons.
Event organizers were generally satisfied with Kelowna as a host community, although only 52 percent of events were able to recruit enough volunteers. Rising costs, lack of marketing and outdated infrastructure were also cited as challenges for event organizers.
Watch the video below for the story behind the Kelowna Regatta, which defined the Okanagan summer from 1906 to 1987.