Ryga Festival organizers pleased with event

Second annual festival drew larger crowds

If you were in Summerland a few weeks ago, you probably noticed that there were more artsy things happening than normal.

Maybe you wandered into your favourite bakery and were treated to a sudden performance by those working there. Maybe you visited the Art Centre and suddenly found yourself in the middle of a hootenanny.

Whatever the case, you experienced just a taste of the Ryga Festival.

The festival, which ran from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 this year, celebrated its second year in Summerland this year by offering more to the community that its namesake, George Ryga called home. And it couldn’t have gone better.

“We were very happy with it,” said Dorthea Atwater, one of the main organizers of the festival, adding that this year they doubled the amount of events and had double the budget from the first year. This, of course, meant double the work, but, according to Atwater, it was worth it.

Not only did Atwater feel good about the event, but the community loved it as well.

“People keep coming up to us and telling us how much they enjoyed it,” she said.

One of the biggest changes they made this year, besides changing the name of the festival from the Margainal Arts Festival to the Ryga Festival was bringing on Heather Davis as the artistic director of the festival.

Davies, who ran a workshop at the festival last year, likes to use festival such as thing to help develop the community resources.

This led to the development of such fantastic additions to the festival such as the Theatre Trail, where local businesses opened their doors to random acts of performance.

These were “a special thing that was in the community,” said Atwater. It added something to the festival that was in the spirit of George Ryga and helped bring the festival to people who might not otherwise have had a chance to experience it.

The efforts of those involved paid off. Attendance was up 20 per cent over last year and, while the bigger events didn’t sell out the way they had the year before, there was more for people to do and see and more people came out overall.

After taking a much deserved bit of time off, Atwater and the rest of her crew are already starting to think about next year.

One of the things they are hoping for is getting even more people from the community involved in the festival.

“There’s so much talent in Summerland,” she said. “We are going to try and get them to participate.”

Best of all, not only did the people of Summerland enjoy the show, but the Ryga family have enjoyed themselves as well.

Campbell Ryga, who has performed with his brother Sergei both years, has said he wants to bring his family down next year, even if he’s not performing.

“For him to feel good about coming back to his hometown is very important to Peter and me,” said Atwater.

Just Posted

Kripps strikes silver in Austria

Kripps and Lumsden, had the second-fastest runs in both heats

Video: Update one man arrested in Okanagan Falls

The RCMP has requested the school go into lockdown

Sharing Christmas with strangers through NeighbourLink match-up

Summerland initiative matches hosts and guests for special Christmas dinner experience

Summerland utility rates to rise

Increases for water, sewer and electrical utilities will be considered

Event to mark winter solstice

Ceremony on Dec. 21 will be held on Munson Mountain

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Most Read