Pandemic parks Kelowna's Ogopogo parade float for another year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pandemic parks Kelowna's Ogopogo parade float for another year

Kelowna's community parade float.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/City of Kelowna
June 16, 2021 - 3:00 PM

A longtime Kelowna staple felled by the pandemic will stay down one more year, despite life returning all around it.

Clarence Johnson has been taking care of the city’s Ogopogo float for years and has driven it at countless parades. This year like last, he said, the old school staple in parades around Western Canada and sometimes Washington will stay parked.

Despite a return to some pre-pandemic activities, Ogi’s state of stasis is a good indicator of what kind of activities won’t return this summer. It's a veritable lake monster in the coal mine, so to speak.

“We have our fingers crossed and have been invited to one parade, but we don’t know if that will happen,” he said.

“Everything is still up in the air. We are hoping to get started again next year.”

The float has been kept safe under a covered trailer since the pandemic forced it to park and Johnson regularly checks in to see how Ogi is doing.

So far, he said, so good. And as for whether there will be any changes for parade wonks between when Ogi was last out and when he returns to the streets seems unlikely.

Johnson said the current incarnation of the float has a more serious look, but the previous two were quite playful.

The last one was quite sparkly and cartoonish.

“Everyone loved that float,” he said. “In the sun he would just shine.”

Over its six-year life, that float appeared in more than 100 parades — logging 42,000 kilometres travelling to more than 55 cities.

The one before that had a big head that turned back and forth and was also pretty well travelled and well liked.

Regardless, he said kids and adults alike are pretty fond of the float, which is good considering it almost was done-in just a few years earlier.

In 2016, city staff recommended that Kelowna's float theme be changed to a lake and mountain landscape with a variety of recreational equipment bursting forth from it, like paddleboards, kayaks and bicycles. That idea went the way of lesser lake monsters and Ogi prevailed.

It’s around the time for its review, however. Johnson said that there’s simply been no budget he’s heard of to make any changes.

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