The phrase, “what are we going to do tonight?” always has an easy answer here. And it’s not just tonight, it’s year-round, from dawn to twilight. The choice is yours: a hockey tournament, sun-soaked triathlon, spotting Elvis, or raising a glass?
Wine lovers, unite. You’re in the heart of BC wine country with a bounty of events at local wineries, but for a the full experience from picking to crushing to barrel samples, the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is yours to savour. October is the month for seeing it all at harvest time, if the grapes are ready to begin their final journey on route to your glass. Pick ‘em, stomp ‘em, then pair ‘em with a winemaker’s dinner or wander through a signature grand tasting event with dozens of wineries beckoning your tastebuds.
Got binoculars? Pack them for the Meadowlark Festival in May, approaching it’s twentieth year in 2015. Sure to become a favourite outdoor trek, under open skies and with hiking boots delicately traipsing though Okanagan Valley desert floors to high alpine meadows. Learn from the experts on a tour, or make up your own.
Summer is when we shine. And we mean that literally. June brings the Peach City Beach Cruise. Hot cars, anyone? Pair with hot tunes in the bandshell in Gyro Park and loads of classic entertainment bringing you back to an era of T-birds and chrome, or wishing you’d been part of an earlier decade. Grab the kids, a soda and some fries, watch the parade of cars down Main Street and wave at your favourites.
And then there’s the King. A dozen years running, it’s blue suede “show” time at the Penticton Elvis Festival. The classic cars are still around, but the shine? That’s from leather pantsuits and jet-black hair. Make it a week of retro fun, as the Elvisfest follows on the heels of the Cruise.
Speaking of heels: lace up the runners and stretch the calf muscles. And that’s just for spectators.
Summer? It’s time to sweat as a participant in the Granfondo Axel Merckx. Small, medium or “I can do this!”, a cycling race with three lengths from 55 kilometres to an epic 160, rolling through the Penticton and the South Okanagan in mid-July. Kid-sized? Tots to teens can pedal their best around downtown Penticton as a precursor to race day.
A casual bike ride may be your choice…except if you’ve got the gumption for Challenge Penticton. Full-length guts and glory triathlon. Swim, bike, run in August. Triathlete? It’s a picturesque race to beat the clock and race into a sea of cheering fans. Volunteer? You’ll never receive more appreciate and sweaty hugs at any other event. Family? Parades, barbeques and even a high-heeled red shoe race may tame the butterflies before sending your tri guy or gal out on the course.
Are you sensing the parade theme yet? There’s no parade like a Penticton Peach Festival parade. Pick the shady side of Main Street, park the kids on the curb, grab an iced bevvie and get ready for royalty, fire trucks, floats…oh my! It’s the 67th version this year, five days of entertainment. Shine up your square-dancing shoes, get the whole family in costume for Kiddie’s Day, grab some cotton candy and ride a Ferris wheel high above the lakes. Did we mention outdoor entertainment? And did we mention a starlit night watching a headliner for free?
It’s still nice and warm in September for jazz. The Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival, to be sure. Three days, multiple venues dressed up as Dixieland, Bourbon Street or an underground speakeasy, and ten bands to whet your appetite for world class jazz. Break out the dancing shoes one more time, and grab your sweetheart for a night, or three, on the town.
Sports fans, September peaks for water sports and the Penticton Dragonboat Festival on Skaha Lake. Sure, the wind may pick up, but paddles up! Then it’s off to the races before the cool breeze of fall and winter descends.