Peach Fest committee pulls together mini celebration amid challenging year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Peach Fest committee pulls together mini celebration amid challenging year

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
August 05, 2021 - 7:30 AM

It may have seemed like lousy growing conditions earlier in the year, but the team behind the Penticton Peach Festival still managed to turn 2021 into a fruitful summer for the event’s 75th anniversary.

This year’s Peach Fest is going to be a leaner version, dubbed the Mini-Peach event, and held on a single day — Aug. 7 — rather than multiple days.

With so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 restrictions, organizers were only able to begin planning the Mini-Peach at the beginning of July when rules involving outdoor organized gatherings were relaxed.

“It was a difficult decision to cancel Peach Fest,” president Don Kendall said. “It takes us a year to organize Peach Fest, and with the COVID protocols in place before July, there was no way we could have pulled it off at such a late date.”

But when restrictions were eased across B.C., that presented the board with a very brief window of opportunity to plan the celebration, albeit a miniature version.

“We were able to pull the whole thing together in a week to 10 days,” Kendall said, “And it’s a real credit to the board of directors of Peach Fest and co-operation with the City of Penticton.”

Despite the shorter duration, all the staples of Peach Fest will be included in Mini-Peach – it’s free as always, there will be the traditional parade down Main Street, fan favourite bands like High Voltage and the Timber Wolves at the rock ’n’ roll stage on Okanagan Lake, the air filled with the delicious smells of carnival vendors, and happy screams coming from the Shooting Star Amusements midway in Rotary Park. The midway opened yesterday, Aug. 4, for the first time in Penticton since before COVID.

Beyond musical acts, other longstanding local entertainers are also scheduled to perform, including the intense Black Widow Rope Spinners, the daredevil-stunt drivers in the Canadian Tire Mega Motocross, and Bent Family Entertainment whose traditional Indigenous dances are performed in beautiful regalia.

“We have a lot of the familiar ingredients that make Peach Fest successful.”

The headlining artists are High Voltage, the AC/DC tribute band that’s always a crowd favourite, Kendall said.

“It’s familiar entertainment families love year after year,” he said. “All the entertainment is local, and we’re really excited about that.”

Peach Fest manages to draw thousands of visitors to Penticton during a normal summer, but amid the circumstances of 2021, “this year is for local residents and tourists who are already here.”

Mini Peach is happening on Aug. 7 at Gyro Park. The opening ceremony begins at noon and the final performance starts at 7:30 p.m.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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