Kelowna needs signature event

Kelowna City Councillor, Andre Blanleil, believes Kelowna is missing out on significant tourist dollars by not having a signature event.

During a presentation by Festivals Kelowna, Blanleil, sitting in the Mayor's chair, says he doesn't see one dynamic event that makes people want to come to Kelowna.

"I don't see any of the festivals that we do as a real draw, or a signature festival that make people say, 'yeah I want to come to Kelowna for that weekend,'" says Blanleil.

"I would have liked to see something where, when you say the Elvis Festival of the Blues and Jazz Festival or the Classic Rock Festival or even as extreme as the Merritt Music Festival, that is has some focus and something to build on."

Kelowna did have a large tourist draw in Wakefest, however, Council nixed the summertime event because of concerns over rowdiness and public drunkenness.

Two other longtime events, the summertime Regatta and Snowfest have both been cancelled, due in part to dwindling attendance and a lack of volunteers.

"These are not unusual comments," says Festivals Kelowna Executive Director, Renata Mills.

"We are aware that marketing rules and we need some way for the public to understand what you're doing and want to come."

Mills says the society, after just one year of operation, is expected to be in a positive financial position, allowing for the creation of a reserve account.

Festivals Kelowna will be responsible for the Life and Arts Festival, Canada Day celebrations, Parks Alive Activities and the Bennett Bridge opening.

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