Kelowna's downtown New Year's celebration to return this year

New Year's party to return

The pandemic halted many beloved events in Kelowna, but the city’s annual Valley First New York New Years celebration is returning.

From 5:00 p.m. until 9 p.m. on December 31 in Stuart Park, families will have a chance to ring in 2022 early.

"We are so grateful to again be able to hold this fun, all ages event,” said Renata Mills, executive director of Festivals Kelowna.

“After cancelling last year, and watching with bated breath into 2021 while we continued to be touch and go on the event front, this New Year’s Eve celebration is a way for our community to safely gather outdoors and return to activities we enjoy.”

In order to keep this year’s festivities safe yet fun, Festivals Kelowna has made adjustments to the event including closing Water Street between the roundabouts to allow for larger event space in order for people to circulate, extending the length of the event to give people more time to take part, cancelling use of the Kelowna Community Theatre indoor space, and eliminating activities where there is close personal contact such as face-painting.

This is a free event thanks to funding for the City of Kelowna and many returning sponsors. It will offer an array of COVID-modified activities including skating on the outdoor ice rink, toss games, a scavenger hunt, hula hoop and Hip Hop dancing on the “snow stage” and more.

To ensure everyone stays well fed and warm, there will be four food trucks onsite from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. dishing up “glove friendly” portions of little donuts, kettle cooked popcorn, hot dogs, smokies, fries, coffee and hot chocolate.

When skaters take to the ice, they’ll be serenaded by live musical performances on the Main Stage under The Bear starting at 5:00 p.m. This year’s performers include “Marianne La Brasseur” playing New Country and original hits at 5:00 p.m., followed by Indie Rock band “The Nomads” at 6:00pm, local rock band “3/4 Crush” at 7:00 p.m. playing Classic Rock covers, and Kelowna DJ “Hotel Zero” spinning Dance music between sets.

Kelowna’s “The Insiders'' will finish off the night’s performances with a Fleetwood Mac inspired set starting at 8 p.m, and closing the ceremony will be Mayor Colin Basran. He’ll help countdown to the fireworks display at 9:00 p.m. and ring in an early New Year with locals. Shot from City Park, the fireworks will be visible along the waterfront from The Sails to the Kelowna Yacht Club.

For more information on the event, click here.

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