New festival effort picks up steam

An ambitious effort to bring a festival to town that will recognize some big anniversaries is picking up steam in Penticton.

The Penticton Museum & Achives  will ask city council tonight, Monday,  for letters in support of an application for grant money to put on the Steamfest festival .

Steamfest will pay tribute to the 100th anniversaries of the S.S. Sicamous and S.S. Naramata in 2014 and the Kettle Valley Railway in 2015.

“We see this as a unique opportunity to celebrate  important anniversaries surrounding the impact of steam technology and transportation in the South Okanagan,” said Peter Ord,  curator/manager of the museum.

The grant application is being made to Canadian Heritage in the total amount of $280,000 to fund 80 percent of the festival, said Ord.

In the last couple of years there has been much discussion on how to recognize all these important anniversaries, and it was decided the best way to do it was to group them together,  because all have relied on steam power.

The 18 month festival will begin May 2014 and  go to September of 2015.

There will always be something happening, according to Ord, from exhibits about steam travel to culinary events and anniversary parties on the S.S. Sicamous.

KVR celebrations will include outdoor events, and there will be conferences and symposiums for anyone with an interest in steam or transportation heritage.

So far, city council has approved recognition of the 100th anniversaries and formation of a Steamfest Committee.

Mayor  Dan Ashton said he is pleased to support plans for the festival moving ahead.

“That whole area as a marine park was built on marine service,” he said. “My hat is off to the committee and I am looking forward to this.”

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