The 2022 Penticton Peach Fest was predicted to be the biggest and best yet and it was just that with at least 85,000 people taking in the 75th year of Canada’s largest free festival over Aug. 3 to 7.
“This is probably the most successful Peach Fest we’ve ever had, definitely the biggest crowds from the Rona Kids Zone to the Grand parade to the concerts at the lake,” said Peach Fest president Don Kendall.
“The feedback we are getting has been all really positive. We had over 240,000 page views to our website and so many people praising the festival. It shows what an important role Peach Fest plays for Penticton.”
An economic study done four years ago by the city found that Peach Fest brought in over $4 million to the local economy. It’s estimated this year brought in much more, said Kendall.
Some personal highlights for Kendall were the top-notch concert line-up and seeing generations of a family enjoying a show together.
“I think the success of this festival is our total focus on families who can come down and enjoy entertainment for free,” he added.
The Grand parade saw people lined up three deep on Main Street and Lakeshore Drive.
“We had 60 former Peach Fest royalty participate who really enjoyed themselves,” he said.
The Peach Bin races that saw the Canadian Forces Skyhawks parachute team participate as well as Penticton Fire had huge crowds cheering them on.
“The SkyHawks were just fantastic and so community-minded.”
Feedback from the bands has also been great from the sound quality to being able to play to huge crowds beside a lake.
“Local company Skaha Sound did a perfect job with the sound.”
Honeymoon Suite set the tempo for the rest of Peach Fest concerts, with a jam-packed Okanagan Lake Park and a fun, appreciative crowd with some dancing and others enjoying the show in their lawn chairs.
Friday night’s Queen and Eagles tribute bands saw the biggest crowd where you couldn’t fit any more people in the area. All the shows saw huge crowds enjoying live music.
The sponsors are what allows Peach Fest to continue and be the success it is, said Kendall.
There are 100s of volunteers who make everything run. The business community also deserves “a pat on the back.”
“We really couldn’t do this without our business sponsors, especially Peters Bros. I was asked many times over the course of last week, mainly from visitors how we can do all this for free and it’s because of our business’s support.”
The five-day event didn’t go on without some hiccups, said Kendall.
A minor crash at an airshow in Fort St. John grounded the Snowbirds from participating in any events. On Thursday, volunteers had to deal with 50 km/h winds and Doug and the Slugs had to cancel performing opening night.
“Aside from that, this has been a Peach Fest to make history,” Kendall said.
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