A small team of Osoyoos residents are gearing up to host their most spectacular fireworks event yet this July 1, for the return of the South Okanagan's biggest Canada Day festivals.
Annette Star is the co-ordinator for fundraising the Osoyoos Fireworks and this year is hoping to raise $95,000 — doubling the last celebration's budget — to really wow locals and visitors.
Osoyoos typically draws crowds of 30,000 people for the day-long celebration complete with the Cherry Fiesta, pancake breakfast, beer gardens and parade.
"It was supposed to be our 25th anniversary two years ago. So we're trying to raise double the funds of what we normally do...so that we can have a phenomenal show," Start said. "I'm thinking we're probably going to have 40 to 50,000 people watching the fireworks this year. "
The plan for this year's show is to really pack it with specialty fireworks.
"We have actual fireworks that go into the water and come up out of the water. We're hoping to beat Ottawa this year, but we're not going to tell them," Star added with a laugh.
The show is orchestrated by Frank Zandvliet, who's been working on the show since January for this summer. He's been planning music with one of the local bands, Rebel Luv, to synchronize the fireworks to the beat.
The entirety of funds raised go towards the show.
"It's all product, because Frank and his pyro crew, they don't take anything and our fundraising crew doesn't take anything. Every cent that we earn goes towards those fireworks."
The fireworks are ordered from Big Bang Fireworks in Alberta, which are supplied from Portugal. The crew starts placing orders at the end of May through June as fundraising comes in.
Star said that fundraising has basically just started, with the Town of Osoyoos supplying $8,000, the Elks Club donating $1,000, and a private donation for a $1000.
"We're starting to get out there and hit the businesses and things like that. And I mean, all I've been doing for the past two years is sorting bottles and going to the bottle depot because we couldn't go out to businesses with COVID. Businesses were hurting so you know, they're not likely to donate."
Star had also started a GoFundMe for their fundraising campaign, hoping it will get shared across the Valley and the border.
"It's crazy because people come from Kelowna, from Penticton and they come all the way up the mountain, from Christina Lake and things like that. The other way they come from Keremeos and Hedley, and even people from the states come up."
The long weekend already looks to be fully booked out in the town too.
"If people are going to come down, they better get here early. I think every hotel is booked already for that weekend...The beaches get packed so if they want to watch, they better get there soon."
People will line up their chairs starting around 7 p.m. for the 10 p.m. fireworks show.
Star shared that if you're booked into a hotel on the north end of the lake, they have perfect seats for viewing the show.
"A lot of people go up on Anarchist Mountain to watch, since there's lookouts there," she said.
The show will last for around 30 minutes.
"To stand down there and hear the crowd. It's amazing. I actually cry every time the fireworks go off. You know, you work so hard, but you bring something to so many people. It's absolutely fantastic."
Personal donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be given if requested, which will be mailed out next January.
For further questions or to directly to arrange a donation, call Star at 250-495-6227.