When a longstanding community event is cancelled, even temporarily, it is time to take notice.
This year, the Blossom Run will not take place.
The annual event, held in the Okanagan for 30 years and in Summerland for the past 25 years, brought hot rodders and car enthusiasts into the community for the May long weekend.
In earlier years, the weekend would draw around 200 participants, but more recently, the number had dropped to between 80 and 100.
While there are other events in Summerland on the May long weekend, the show and shine on the Saturday afternoon served to bring hundreds of spectators to Memorial Park.
From there, many would stop in at downtown businesses, restaurants and coffee shops.
Other Summerland events on the same weekend do not have the same direct effect on the downtown, since they happen farther from the core of the community.
Organizers of the annual car weekend have said they have chosen to cancel the event just for this year, but would like to have it in place once again for 2015. However, there is no guarantee the Blossom Run would remain in Summerland in the future.
Even if the Blossom Run is back in Summerland after a one-year hiatus, the effects of its absence this year will be noticeable.
The most successful events are those which continue each year. Recovering from a skipped year can be challenging for any event organizers.
It should be noted that special events by themselves are not enough to make the difference between a thriving downtown and a struggling downtown, but a good event or a series of events can be effective as one part of a community’s marketing strategy.