August 10, 2013 - 11:23 AM
KELOWNA - It only comes once a year: a day to roam free along downtown's main street without a car in sight.
This Saturday, Bernard Avenue is open to pedestrians only for the city's annual Mardi Gras style block party. It's the 24th year the festivities take over downtown Kelowna but this weekend's celebration is expected to be the biggest yet.
Whether you're looking for bargain shopping, street food, live music or something to keep your kids busy, the Downtown Kelowna Association has it all covered. Not to mention a dog agility course for your pooch and a stand-up paddleboard yoga class.
From Richter Street to the Sails between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. a range of events are set to entertain all ages, free of charge. That includes a monster truck show, a balloon encased magician and a musical petting zoo on the 500 block of Bernard.
A climbing wall will keep older kids active and expect to see a stilt-walker mingling with the crowd.
Three different stages will feature local musicians playing everything from blues to folk, as well as a runway fashion show.
Downtown Kelowna spokesperson Ryan Watters says the event draws talent and participation from all over the city.
"The vendors are coming from all around," including Orchard Park Mall, he says, so look out for discounted merchandise.
And with 12,000 people walking the street last year, it begs the question of whether the block party should be more than just an annual event. Watters says there's been discussion on hosting similar sreet parties but the association doesn't yet have the man-power.
"Having it once a year keeps it special and keeps it fresh for people," he says.
Bernard Avenue closes at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning and the city is reminds the public not to leave cars parked on the street overnight.
"If you're parking downtown on Friday night do remove your vehicle or it will be towed to another lot," Watters says.
The street will re-open to traffic at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
A monster truck is just about the only vehicle you'll see parked on Bernard Avenue this Saturday.
Image Credit: Jessica Schlamp Photography
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013