It’s almost time to kick off Penticton’s Peach Festival for 2023 and make some new family memories.
“We have incredible entertainment and we really want to fill the park every night and we usually don’t have trouble doing so, but there’s lots of fun during the day as well,” said Shawna Guitard, president of the Penticton Peach Festival. “I’m huge on the family memories that are made and whenever somebody is thinking about coming to visit I tell them to come during Peach Festival.”
The annual event is back starting Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 9 a.m. in Gyro Park with the Home Hardware Kids Zone. The morning features live entertainment, live reptiles, activites, a bouncy castle and more.
After the Kids Zone events wrap up around noon, the Jennifer Casey Memorial Peach Bin Race heads down Main Street before everything swings over to Okanagan Lake Park, where the main stage and most of the vendors are all set up.
The Skyhawks, the Canadian Armed Forces stunt parachute team, signal the start of the evening’s entertainment at 6 p.m., with headliner Kim Mitchell taking the stage at 9:30.
Outside of the big music stage events, there is plenty going on all five days of the festival, including the Canadian Tire Mega Motocross with shows from Wednesday to Friday, the Peter Bros. Grand Parade on Saturday, and the Minuteman Press Kiddies Day Parade on Sunday.
“The kids are welcome to dress up in their costumes and that starts at Nanaimo Ave. and Maine at 11 a.m.,” said Guitard. “They ride their bikes all the way down the 200 block of Main, and then right into the park where the costume judging takes place.”
Peach Festival’s events aren’t limited to just what’s going on at Gyro Park and Okanagan Lake Park, with the return of the RPR Peachduro biking event at the Three Blind Mice trailhead and the popular Greyback Construction Sand Castle Competition returning once again to the beach at Skaha Lake.
Everything from planes to recreations of the Peach Festival Float - Miss Penticton included - have been made and displayed over the years. Sculpting kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 10.
The best way to keep on top of all the activities and entertainment, Guitard says, is to use the Peach Festival’s program and its detailed schedule.
“Throughout the week, just take a look at the program and see what interests you and your family and what entertainment or what acts you don’t want to miss.” Peach Fest activities and entertainment are free.
Running throughout the Peach Festival this year is a bus service called Park and Ride, with buses scheduled every half hour from Wednesday to Saturday to take people to the stop outside the park and ease some of the stress for finding a spot to park. BC Transit has also extended their hours during the Peach Festival to a final departure from the park’s stop at 11:42 p.m.
The whole event takes months of planning and work to pull off, and Guitard wanted to make sure that the people working behind the scenes get the credit they deserve for all the hours they put into the festival.
“I have nothing but thanks for all of our volunteers, our volunteer board of directors, our sponsors and our vendors,” said Guitard. “We couldn’t make this possible without the volunteer board and I feel like maybe the general public doesn’t always understand that we’re all volunteers and we all have other things going on.
“There’s so many moving pieces in these five days and we couldn’t do it without everybody that’s involved, including the attendees, of course, coming down and showing all the entertainment that they’re thrilled to have them here.”
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