Peach Fest 2021 is cancelled. The parade is a tradition at Peach Fest as seen here in 2019. (Brennan Phillips Western News file photo)

Peach Fest 2021 is cancelled. The parade is a tradition at Peach Fest as seen here in 2019. (Brennan Phillips Western News file photo)

Peach Fest 2021 cancelled

Too many uncertainties in the restart plan to safely go ahead with August festival, said board

Due to the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty about Provincial Health guidelines and restrictions, the Penticton Peach Festival is cancelled for 2021.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and it really breaks my heart. We would love to do something for Penticton, but we can’t commit to anything because there are still a lot of assumptions being made about what life will be like in August,” said Don Kendall, Peachfest President. “This decision has weighed very heavily on us. The board wants to hold an event to welcome a return to normal but without a clear path, that also isn’t dependent on if the Province has to hit pause on the BC Restart Plan, we cannot do so.”

The Penticton Peachfest board held their monthly meeting on May 26 and, after a thorough discussion, it was a unanimous decision to cancel this year’s festival.

The BC Restart Plan released by the Provincial Health Office on May 25 states in Phase 3 (July 1) that fairs and festivals with COVID-19 safety plans may operate. The board decided that without concrete guidelines regarding capacity it makes decisions very difficult for Peachfest to move forward. Waiting for the July 1 Provincial Health Office update on Phase 3 would not give the board enough time to move ahead.

“The board discussed how they could host a festival, but with so many uncertainties it was decided it is too much risk for Peachfest,” said Kendall.

It is also noted in the BC Restart Plan that not until Phase 4 (Sept. 7) that increased capacity for things such as concerts will be allowed, but only if the forecasted case count, hospitalization and vaccine numbers fall within the PHO guidelines.

The board is thankful for the re-assurance of support they have received from sponsors and volunteers who make the festival Penticton’s signature event.

Having undergone a rebrand and website redesign over the past year, the Peachfest board members are now looking forward to hosting an outstanding event Aug. 3 to 7, 2022 – the 75th anniversary of the festival.

“We have a number of things we have already started to work on as we gear up to celebrate the 75th anniversary and the board is looking forward to delivering one of the best festivals in our history,” said Kendall.

More to come.

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