A crowd of approximately 6,500 packed into Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna to ring in 2018. (Contributed)

A crowd of approximately 6,500 packed into Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna to ring in 2018. (Contributed)

Kelowna’s Valley First New York New Years cancelled

The event that takes in Stuart Park is postponed due to a surge in Omicron

Kelowna’s Valley First New York New Years’ event will once again be cancelled for a second year.

Festivals Kelowna made the decision following the recent announcement by the B.C. government to increase restrictions around social gatherings due to the surge of the COVID variant Omicron.

The event had been scheduled for Dec. 31, from 5 to 9 p.m. in Stuart park, however, it will now be held in December 2022 explained Renata Mills, Executive Director of Festivals Kelowna.

“Well, we were hopeful and planned a fun, family celebration for our community on New Year’s Eve but it was not to be. COVID had other plans,” said Mills. “After cancelling last year, we’ve been holding our breath this last week as we saw Omicron expand across the country. Even though our event is held outdoors and we built in some COVID safety measures, given the really large numbers that usually attend it wouldn’t be responsible or appropriate to proceed as planned.”

Toted as one of the few all-ages friendly New Years Eve events in Kelowna, Valley First New York New Years is free to attend and typically features a variety of activities including skating on the outdoor ice rink, live bands on two stages, games and interactive demonstrations in the Kid’s Snow Zone, food trucks and fireworks at 9 p.m. to ring in an early new year.

Festivals Kelowna produces community-focused, arts-based festivals and programs, with a family-friendly approach.

READ MORE: Feds expand lockdown benefits to include capacity limits as Omicron surges

READ MORE: B.C. sees record-breaking 1,308 new COVID cases ahead of new restrictions

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