The PaddleFest is to celebrate the history of paddling in Peachland and to engage individuals and teams in a paddling sport. It strengthens our connection to the Okanagan Lake, fosters economic vitality and showcases the natural beauty of our waterfront.
The last Regatta held in Peachland was on August 7, 1913. The 2013 PaddleFest will be held almost exactly 100 years to the day since Peachland’s last regatta. Very soon after that regatta many of the war canoe teams were in action on the western front overseas, in World War I, many to be killed or wounded. Their names live on at the lakeside cenotaph and in the names of streets named for pioneer families.
This year the event will kick off with the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 10, though just prior to that, from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., the Rattlesnake Island swim will be held. Opening ceremonies will feature dignitaries and special guests and will open the event on the PaddleFest main stage in front of the Historic Primary School. Entertainment will be ongoing throughout the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the war canoe demonstration gets underway at 11:30 a.m. The war canoe enactment will commemorate the more than 100 years of paddling in Peachland. The historic war canoe is being provided by the Penticton Museum.
Dragon boat races start at noon and participating boats will come from the Kelowna Dragon Boat Club and Bust N’ Loose from West Kelowna. Other dragon boaters are welcome to enter the fun races. See the website for information on how to enter.
Stand up paddling races are next beginning roughly at 1 p.m. .These races will include 400-metre and 100-metre adult races, and as well as a 100-metre youth category. SUP demos and novelty events will also be offered prior to and after the races. Race participants must pre-register on the website.
Local paddlers, Peter Dodenhoff and Mark Jennings-Bates will be attending the Okanagan Paddle Festival to support this inaugural celebration of paddling. They will also be promoting their charitable adventure in September. The duo will be paddling an approximate 250kms around the circumference of Okanagan Lake stopping along the way to share stories of the charitable work that Rally4Life does to provide safe drinking water to communities around the world.
Kayak “open” races get underway at 2 pm with adult kayakers invited to register for this fun 400-metre event. Kayak demos will take place prior to the races.
Children and youth activities are plentiful as well with the children’s program including peach box races and paddleboat races at Swim Bay which will be operated by District of Peachland lifeguards throughout the afternoon. There will be a boat building (and launching) activity for youth aged 12 to 16, organized by the Peachland Boys & Girls Club.
Closing event features a parade of boats at 3:30 pm. A colourful parade of human-powered boats from Pincushion Bay to Heritage Park will wrap up the day’s activities.
There will be a “historic” element to the day’s festivities, with support from the Peachland Historical Society and the visitor information centre. Participants and spectators will be encouraged to dress in 1913 attire. The historic Peachland Primary School will be open, housing the new visitors` centre and the Legends of the Lake interpretive centre.
Visit the website for updates: okanaganpaddlefest.com