Mayor's Minute

Mayor’s minute: BC (Beautiful Community) Week

August 9, 2018

What a way to start off the week and celebrate BC Day with a visit from Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. While the visit was brief, it did attract thousands to Gyro Park and was the first time since the sixties that a Prime Minister made a public appearance in Penticton. Regardless of your political views of the current federal government, it was refreshing to see our country’s leader stop by and say hello.

I must admit, I was a little nervous as it’s not everyday you get a chance to introduce and host the PM. One of my colleagues offered some insight to calm me down… “He puts on his socks one foot at a time, just like you”.  It was then we both looked down to my barefoot sandals and later noticed Mr. Trudeau wasn’t wearing socks either.  Society sometimes forgets that politicians are also just regular people trying to do what’s best. The BC day visit was light with a little bit of humour, celebrity euphoria and a subtle political feel good moment.

It was pretty cool that the Prime Minister’s visit took place a day before local resident, Bridget Kemp, was to receive the Queen’s Sovereign medal for her volunteer work. He took the time to congratulate her in person which added to the well-deserved honor.  

Speaking of volunteers, we are now in the middle of our signature event, the 71st annual Penticton Peach Festival. This is perhaps my favorite event and time of year. The City comes alive with people, there are activities throughout the entire community, there is something for everyone and it’s completely free.  People that grew up coming to PeachFest as family tradition now have kids and repeat the trend. It is common to see multi generations enjoying the same event.

PeachFest, like many of our festivals and events, wouldn’t happen without an army of volunteers and board directors planning and organizing all the logistics.  About ten years ago the Peach Festival board had some volunteer fatigue and was considering handing the event off to another non-profit organization. The current president of the board, Don Kendall, stepped up and has built up a diverse team of directors to ensure PeachFest has some stability and will continue well into the future.

During my first year on Council I went with the Penticton Royalty to Calgary to participate in the Calgary Stampede and it was such an awesome and humbling experience. I got to ride the float with the other princesses and while my rendition of the signature ‘spreading peanut butter’ wave lacked regality or grace, I did my best staying enthusiastic for the two plus hour parade. Each corner people cheered “Yeah Penticton, we love Peach Fest”!

The Royalty program crowns a new Miss Penticton and princesses on the Friday of each Peach Festival. It is a great program empowering young women to gain confidence, get involved in their community, become leaders and be great ambassadors for Penticton.

I hope you took some time this week to celebrate in the community, and with the community, as there were lots of different events and things to take in. Whether you’re a child, adult, or young person at heart, Penticton has many things to offer, be proud of and enjoy.