Penticton’s downtown community markets, which often attract crowds of over 5000 on weekends during the summer, are cancelled.
The Downtown Penticton Association (DPA) announced the cancellation Friday afternoon, following the announcement that the 2020 Penticton Peach Festival was also cancelled earlier that morning.
Large gatherings throughout the province continue to be cancelled due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 spreading.
“We simply had to make the difficult but prudent decision to cancel,” said Lynn Allin, DPA executive director.
“Our board of directors and I were hopeful conditions might change soon enough that we could safely open the market this year, but the risk to our community’s health is just too great at this time to proceed.”
The DPA’s community market has been a seasonal staple of Penticton’s downtown district for over 15 years, explained the organization.
Normally running for 22 consecutive Saturdays, it is the not-for-profit’s major annual fundraiser; the proceeds, in turn, fund other downtown events like block parties and the Tree Light Up festival.
However, the DPA explained, it also delivers important economic benefits to the downtown community, so they say its return in 2021 is a certainty.
“Many downtown shops and food and beverage establishments benefit throughout the summer and fall from the increased pedestrian traffic that the market generates,” said Allin.
“Also, 200-plus participating businesses and vendors rely on sales at our market for personal and business income. These factors were carefully considered and are why we waited until the last possible moment to cancel.”
The DPA is in the process of reaching out to all the businesses and vendors registered for 2020 about the cancellation process and what to expect next.
“There are substantial costs to organize and run a market. If we can safely and viably run a successful fall or winter market once the health risks are reduced and there’s a sanctioned way ahead to hold large public gatherings, then for the economic benefit our downtown business community we will consider doing so.”