Busy month for events in Penticton

June chock full of events

"Four seasons of fun" is an ongoing collaboration between Castanet and Visit Penticton showcasing what Penticton has to offer all year round. Watch for it every Monday morning.

It’s June in Penticton: that means hot weather, and of course, family-friendly festivals!

The Penticton Elvis Festival is back for a weekend of live entertainment fit for the whole family at Okanagan Lake Park from June 22 - 25.

With three headliners this year including 2014 Enterprises Ultimate Tribute Artist Jay Dupuis from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the headliner show held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre has already sold out.

“We sold out a month in advance,” said Penticton Elvis Festival president Mike Schell.

But there’s still plenty to see and enjoy over the course of the four-day event, from a Kick-Off Party held at Match Eatery Pub with the opportunity to meet and greet the tribute artists on June 22, to the opening ceremonies the next day, all through the competition and the ever-popular Sunday Gospel Show.

“His music is timeless,” said Schell.

The competition this year features 12 non-pro artists and 14 pro contestants, who come from all over the world.

“Australia, the UK, the States, from all over Canada,” said Schell. “The competition is a big part of the festival … but what we really wanted to do this year was give back to Penticton. For our charity for the festival this year is the Penticton Food Bank. So we’re asking everybody with their gate admission to bring a non-perishable food item.”

The Penticton Food Bank will have a van on site to accept donations - and with Schell aiming for 4,000 attendees, that’s a lot of donations!

“There’s over 60,000 Elvis tribute artists in the world,” said Schell. “Sixty-thousand! And we’re going to have about 35 of them here in Penticton. It’s like a big family reunion. We’ve all known each other for a long time, and there’s new contestants coming this year, but everybody (is here) to celebrate the King of Rock ‘N Roll. It’s a big party.”

And Schell added his thanks to a number of community members for their support in helping make the festival a reality.

“The Penticton Elvis Festival is the longest running Elvis Festival in Canada,” explained Schell. “We’re non-profit. Everybody’s just rallied and pushed and just helped us out, and it’s a great feeling.”

VIPs this year on site for pictures and autographs include Elvis’s bodyguard Sam Thompson and and Elvis’s girlfriend Linda Thompson.

For more information and schedule of events, visit pentictonelvisfestival.ca.

Hot weather is coming in June and what better way to quench that thirst than by joining in on the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival, running over the course of two weekends from June 3 to 11, from West Kelowna all the way to Penticton.

On June 9, the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre will be hosting the Okanagan Spring Grand Tasting from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., giving guests the chance to taste new releases from some of B.C.’s top wine producers.

From June 10 - 11, with the purchase of a TASTE passport, guests can try a minimum of six wine experiences throughout the Naramata Bench and Summerland.

Ticket are selling out fast and can be purchased at thewinefestivals.com.

Canada’s largest regional bridge tournament is set to return to Penticton June 12 - 18, with the Peach City Bridge Tournament providing a week of entertainment at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

For more information, including a schedule of events, visit tournaments.acbl.org

Lakeshore Drive is set to transform into the “Magic Mile” from June 23 - 25 for the Peach City Beach Cruise, with an expected 800 vehicles lining the street along Okanagan Lake.

“Spectators will be in the many thousands,” said Peach City Beach Cruise president Wayne Wood. “During peak times you will be hard pressed to be able to walk down Lakeshore drive, even though the lanes are blocked off to regular traffic.”

As of May 31, 700 vehicles had been registered, with the event capping out at 800, which Wood believes will be reached.

Running over 20 years, the event draws in thousands of car enthusiasts, with Wood saying hotels and motels from Oliver to West Kelowna are typically filled for the weekend festivities.

A guided wine tasting tour in Okanagan Falls and a “Winding Road Cruise” are some of the activities on the list for participants.

Spectators can expect to see an assortment of vehicles from as early as the 1920s all the way up to today’s current models. While “each person will have a make and model that’s special to them … I personally favour Corvettes,” said Wood.

But the fun doesn’t stop at Lakeshore Drive: Gyro Park is set to host a variety of entertainment, including live bands, a beer garden and a variety of vendors. Live entertainment runs until 11 p.m. and Wood recommends spectators bring a chair.

A pancake charity breakfast held by Firefighters will be on site at Gyro Park both Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The event is volunteer-run, with this year’s being Wood’s last.

“It has been my privilege and pleasure to be a member of many director teams over the years. I will greatly miss working with these dedicated and talented individuals,” he said.

For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit peachcitybeachcruise.ca

Also running June 23 - 25 is the Four Seasons Cultural Society’s Pow Wow Between the Lakes, hosted at the South Okanagan Events Centre in SnPink’tn (Penticton).

This year’s Pow Wow theme is “Healing the Nation” as the eight bands of the Okanagan Nation Alliance come together to celebrate Sylix culture and resilience.

A drum and dance contest will be held amongst a variety of special events, with entry cost set at $10 or $20 for the weekend. Children under five are free.

For more information, visit penticton.ca or soec.ca for a schedule of events.

And returning for another year of delicious fun is the Penticton Rotary Ribfest, hosted at Skaha Lake Park from June 30 to July 2.

The weekend will be jam packed with ribs, contests, vendors and more, including free concerts all weekend.

For more information and tickets, visit pentictonribfest.com

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