Penticton Lakeside Resort to open modern new tower just in time for summer 2017

The Penticton Lakeside Resort is expanding its hotel inventory with construction of the new West Wing Tower set to hold 70 modern suites. Construction began this past Spring and is scheduled to be completed just in time for summer next year. The tower will be opened in June 2017 and will feature a contemporary wood design in every suite, with lake and mountain views.

Of the large room expansion, Penticton Lakeside Resort’s Director of Sales and Marketing Barb Haynes, said, “All will be king bedrooms with a very contemporary design and wood construction. It is a beautiful building. One of our local businesses, Structurlam, is a key partner in supplying their product to us. Their products have won several architectural design awards and are stunning. We are really looking forward to adding this new wing into our hotel.”

The new suites will be designed to accommodate guests of all walks of life, from families to business travellers. The rooms will have work stations, safes, seating area with fireplaces, spacious bathrooms, walk-in showers and coffee stations featuring Starbucks products. These rooms will be in addition to the already five floors of accommodation currently available to guests at the resort which include queen, king, executive, jet-tub and penthouse suites.


Experience Penticton's most exciting events for less

Regardless of season, Penticton always has something going on and October is no different. October is an especially exciting month in the Okanagan as Penticton plays host two huge fall events. Even better, Penticton Lakeside Resort has teamed up with both Cropped and Oktoberfest to provide visitors with the best accommodation packages in town. Whether you’ve been considering a fall weekend getaway for a while now or simply want to enjoy the festivals in style, Penticton Lakeside Resort’s exclusive hotel deals will give you the ultimate weekend in the Okanagan Valley.

 

Cropped By Valley First (wine tasting and farmer’s market event)

When: October 7th- October 8th, 2016

Do you like wine, good music and delicious, local food? Then the Cropped by Valley First event is absolutely perfect for you. With over 80 wineries and farmers participating in the event, guests will have access to dozens of unique wine tastings, food seminars and musical acts throughout the two day event. The best part? Penticton Lakeside Resort has a fantastic hotel package offer available to eager event goers. Enjoy a one night stay and two tickets to either day for only $250.50. The perfect deal for couples looking to enjoy a few drinks responsibly or those who simply want to spend a night in the Okanagan with good food, drinks and entertainment! If it’s single tickets you’re looking for however, Valley First offers tickets here including an all inclusive ticket option that includes all wine tastings, catered food and a taxi ride home for only $75!

Celebrate Oktoberfest with traditional beer and pretzels.
Celebrate Oktoberfest with traditional beer and pretzels.

Oktoberfest

When: October 22nd, 2016

We may not be in Munich, Germany but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate Oktoberfest in grand fashion right here in Penticton. Penticton puts its own spin on Oktoberfest with mouth-watering food, delicious drinks and endless entertainment! Dancing is a must at the seventh annual Oktoberfest so come down to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre if you’re down for a night of dancing and traditional beer drinking. Even better, Penticton Lakeside Resort has an exclusive hotel and festival package up for grabs leading up to the event on October 22nd: Enjoy one night’s accommodation and two Oktoberfest tickets for only $168 per couple! Single tickets are also available for $35 online and in person at Valley First.


13 things you didn’t know about Penticton Lakeside Resort

We sat down with Penticton Lakeside Resort’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Barb Haynes, to get the scoop on all things Penticton. As a Penticton resident for the past 23 years, Barb knows a thing or two about this famous Okanagan town- and some of its best kept secrets too!

Read on to discover them all and how to make the most of your trip to the Okanagan:

 

How is the Penticton Lakeside Resort unique from other hotels in the Okanagan?

Barb: We’re located on the south shore of the Okanagan Lake and we’re the only accommodation in Penticton with a private beach for its guests! We’re full service and offer great dining options with weekly entertainment on our patio.

I think one of the most significant characteristics of the hotel is that it anchors the downtown core on its north end. You can walk to just about anything and the incredibly popular farmer’s market is right outside our front door.

What are some of the best features of the resort?

Our private beach for sure…it offers full service with drinks and food, towels, beach chairs and lots of sun! All our restaurants have patios that look out onto the lake.

I think one of the most unique features of our restaurant, the Hooded Merganser, is that it’s supplied with fresh produce, in season, from our very own Valley View Farm. Our general manager and his family live at the farm and our farm manager delivers food daily to the Hood. We also use all of our own herbs grown fresh here in the gardens at the hotel.

Speaking of food...what is your favourite dish at the Hooded Merganser restaurant?

The grilled lamb chops! The Hooded Merganser does an amazing job of them and sometimes when you order lamb at a restaurant it doesn’t live up to your expectations…at the Hooded Merganser it always does for me.

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Dish in the making! Behind the scenes at the Hooded Merganser.

What’s something cool about Penticton that visitors may not know about?

Our community was established as an agricultural area providing fruits and produce to our province in the early years. Much was shipped via rail on the Kettle Valley train system. With the changes in access to food internationally and the train system disappearing, Penticton has seen a reduction in its orchards. Vineyards have been developed creating a burgeoning wine industry that is unique to our area. We feature the small to mid-sized wineries where you can enjoy a glass, meet the winemaker and tour a vineyard all in easy access. We have also developed an amazing farm-to-table industry, again highlighting the incredible growing season we experience here in the South Okanagan.

The Kettle Valley Rail system is being redeveloped into a major tourism attraction where folks can ride their bikes from Hope to Christina Lake, and from Rock Creek to Vernon. Penticton is a stop along the way and we’re looking forward to hosting our travellers…think west coast trail on bikes!

What is the best part of your position as Director of Sales & Marketing?

I would say working with the amazing team here at the resort and our external contractors. I love the team approach and the great pool of both skills and ideas that come to the table when you work together. I also really like to help create vision and then develop the path to get there.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Sometimes it can be crazy! We have such a diverse line of products, we are always working to stay ahead of the seasons. So, sometimes in the heat of summer we’re planning for the upcoming winter season and vice versa. My day is often filled with staying current on local news, keeping up to date on the daily hotel activities…who are we hosting, what’s happening…and dreaming of new ideas to sell our resort and its amenities!

What is your favourite part of the hotel?

I would say the patios because of the views, the weather, the buzz of activity…it feels like you’re away on vacation every day.

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Penticton Lakeside Resort's private beach and marina.

When do you recommend coming to visit Penticton Lakeside Resort, and why?

Just about anytime! In the summer, we see lots of families and folks participating in a variety of events. Spring, summer and fall bring groups of friends looking to explore our wine region and the winter season attracts snowbirds from the prairie provinces looking to escape the cold…our temperatures are much milder! We also have a robust convention season in our shoulder periods and we are already booking into 2017 for destination weddings.

What’s something exciting guests have to look forward to in the coming year at Penticton Lakeside Resort?

The new accommodation wing that we are currently constructing. It will add 70 rooms to our inventory where the majority of rooms will have a lakeview. All will be king bedrooms and suites with a very contemporary design and wood construction. It is a beautiful building. One of our local businesses, Structurlam, is a key partner in supplying their product to us. Their products have won several architectural design awards and are stunning! We are really looking forward to adding this new wing into our hotel.

Depositphotos_87173472_l-2015
The stunning view from one of Penticton's local beaches.

What are the must sees of Penticton?

The lakes for sure. Penticton is one of the very few communities bordered by two lakes in the world! Our beaches are amazing! Our wine region…you can wander from winery to winery with views that will blow your mind and a quaintness that makes you feel instantly at home.

Our cycling routes…both road and off-road. We have put considerable resources into our routes to map and maintain them for cyclists. Our trail riding is excellent with wineries along the way for stops and our mountain biking is world-renowned.

In the summer, you gotta buy fruit…everyone does! And don’t forget to check our Skaha Bluffs, our climbing park. It, too, is really popular.

What do you consider the best beach in Penticton and the surrounding area?

Sudbury Beach on Skaha Lake was just recognized as one of the Top 10 Beaches in Canada. It’s a great swimming beach, warm water, lots of amenities and easy access to several of the campsites and motels. Okanagan Lake is famous for its restaurants and walkway…as well as its beach! Both shores are spectacular.

What made you decide to call Penticton home?

My husband and I wanted a complete lifestyle change! Our kids were young and we wanted a less crazy life for them. Both my husband and I grew up by the coast and the kids were born there. We made the change 23 years ago and have never looked back. Best decision ever!

Describe Penticton in 3 words:

Picturesque, laid-back, sumptuous – in its food, wine, beaches, land, views and water systems.


Valley First Challenge Penticton

In a few short days it will be time again for the Valley First Challenge here in Penticton, and the whole Okanagan Valley is already buzzing with activity. As the city prepares to welcome the world to the Penticton lakeside community, many athletes are already here, ready to race.

 

Event details

The 2016 Valley First Callenge in Penticton is happening from August 24th through August 28th. It will feature four major events categories: duathlon, aquathlon, cross triathlon, and long course triathlon. Read on for the details within each category.

Duathlon

In the duathlon category athletes will be competing at the national level in a 10 kilometer run, followed by a 40 kilometer bike ride, ending with another 5 kilometers running. This is a truly difficult challenge, and pacing is critical for anyone aiming to become the next Canadian Duathlon National Champion!

Aquathlon

In the aquathlon category, racers swim for 1 kilometer and then run for five kilometers. This race is known as the fast and furious event, with athletes using the first kilometer in the water to focus themselves and take the lead. The remaining five kilometers on land is all about maintaining a breakneck pace and enough of a lead to stay ahead of your competition. If you're hoping to become the next Canadian Aquathlon National Champion, get ready to race against some serious speed demons on both water and land!

Cross triathlon

The cross triathlon event consists of a 1.5 kilometer swim, followed by a quick 27 kilometers cycling, rounded off with another 10 kilometers running off road. The off road sections of this challenge are filled with spectacular natural beauty—not to mention all of the rugged challenges you'd expect from an off road course. The Canadian Cross Triathlon National Champion is invariably a star athlete who doesn't mind getting dirty!

Long course triathlon

The long course triathlon event consists of a 3 kilometer swim, followed by a grueling 120 kilometers cycling, with a final 30 kilometers running on foot—for those who can handle it. This is a brand new distance for Challenge Penticton and a serious long course for world-class athletes. To take the title of Canadian Long Course Triathlon National Champion it take stamina, strength, and sheer will power.

One of the nicest things about this event is the stunning natural beauty contests will enjoy as they compete. Swimmers start on the beaches of Okanagan Lake and end up in the transition in the park. From there, racers cycle along the shores of Okanagan Lake, through downtown Penticton, and then through a series of lush, green rolling hills surrounding Skaha Lake. Finally, for the running portion of the event, athletes take the channel that connects Skaha and Okanagan lakes, enjoying the breezes from the lakes and the views.

If winning the title of National Champion isn't enough, these festival events also serve to qualify athletes for spots in the inaugural International Triathlon Union (ITU) Multisport World Championships Festival. This exciting event will be held on August 18th-27th, 2017 in Penticton. Athletes will compete for 10 qualifying slots, 5 per gender, in each event, for each 5-year age group division.

Two triathlon participants running into the water for swim portion of race.
Two triathlon participants running into the water for swim portion of race.

Why participate in the events?

There are so many great reasons to get involved as an athlete. Canadian athletes can earn their spot in the 2017 ITU World Multisport Championships by participating and return to Penticton next year. Non-Canadian athletes can experience the course that the world will be watching in 2017, and prove their skill and endurance within a world community of athletes. All racers will love competing in Penticton, a triathlon community with decades of long distance history and tons of amazing volunteers.

This brings us to the reasons for getting involved as a volunteer! Penticton has a reputation as a friendly, warm, giving community of people who care deeply about the racing events hosted in their town. Being a volunteer is a fun, exciting experience, and it's a great feeling joining that community of people who care so much about the city and its events. It's also a fantastic way to see the races up close and personal, and get involved with the athletes.

Everyone who participates, from athletes to volunteers, gets to enjoy the beautiful weather, warm sunshine and lakes, and fantastic food and wine of the event and the city. Don't miss out on the experience of really getting involved!

 

This is one of the most exciting events in Penticton, a city which hosts awesome conferences, arts gatherings, food and wine festivals, and other events all year long. This is a don't miss event, for athletes, food and wine aficionados, and anyone who enjoys great weather and good times.

 

 

 

 


An American in Canada: Traveling to the Okanagan Valley (Part 2)

This is the 2nd part of our two part blog series, An American in Canada: Traveling in the Okanagan Valley.

The Okanagan Valley is the perfect vacation spot for Americans not wanting to waste precious time traveling to foreign destinations. What follows is the second part of my detailed look at what an American travelling the Okanagan Valley can expect, and why it’s the perfect choice for travelers from the USA.

What are some of the hidden gems of the Okanagan Valley? Here are a few that Americans will love most.

 

Hidden Okanagan Valley

Kettle Valley Railway and Myra Canyon trestles

The Kettle Valley Trail was once the region’s rail corridor, connecting industrial supplies and workers along with residents across the area. The railroad itself was in operation between 1915 and 1989, and the railroad was later transformed into a multi-use recreational trail.

This is a hidden gem in the valley because there is truly something for everyone along this unique landmark; the scenery and wildlife are unparalleled, the recreational options are fantastic, the historical and cultural significance equates to fascinating activities, and various amenities connected to local wineries are also within reach along this passageway.

Myra Canyon is a beautifully maintained portion of 18 giant trestle bridges and two tunnels along the former Kettle Valley Railway. Hiking (or biking) the 12 kilometer section with the trestles offers fantastic views over the lake. And if you’re a history buff, join a historical tour that describes the century of history surrounding these trestles and the railway, including the major fires in 2003 and the rebuilding that followed.

Penticton Farmer’s Market

The British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets named the Penticton Farmers’ Market 2015 Farmer’s Market of the Year in the medium-sized market category and it is the largest in the Okanagan Valley. This hidden treasure of the valley features hand-crafted goods from hundreds of vendors, so visit for antiques, clothing, collectables, food, furniture, jewelry and more, not to mention lots of great live entertainment for the whole family.

SS Sicamous

The SS Sicamous began its life in May of 1914 as a luxury passenger vessel serving isolated communities along the Okanagan Lake. By 1936 the SS Sicamous was retired to the Okanagan Landing Ship Yards where it sat in silence until 1951 when it was purchased for the princely sum of $1.00 by the City of Penticton.

In 1952 the Penticton Gyro Club, hoping to preserve the vessel for posterity, fitted the SS Sicamous with running water, electricity and restorations. Between the 1950s and the 1980s, the boat was home to all manner of businesses and organizations from restaurants to beauty salons, but by the late 80s it had fallen into disrepair.

The final restoration process began in earnest in 1988, and today the SS Sicamous is a stunning reminder of Canada’s cultural heritage. The vessel is home to a museum and a fun visit for visitors to the Okanagan Valley.

Canadian culture for Americans

You may think that Canadian culture is too similar to US culture to care about taking it in, but you couldn’t be further off the mark. The Okanagan Valley is filled with unique, fun cultural experiences Americans should try while in the area.

First nations

The Okanagan Valley is a multicultural region and is in fact named for some of its first nation citizens. As a visitor to the valley you will be able to experience the rich history of the indigenous peoples in the area through their clothing, food, jewelry, historical landmarks, medicine, traditional events and tools. Visit the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre near Osoyoos or the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park near Kamloops to take in evidence of the original peoples of the valley such as the circular pit houses or kekulis they inhabited.

European immigrants in the 1800s

Europeans arrived in British Columbia in the 1800s as Simon Fraser and others mapped and explored the area. Today’s Kamloops is the site of the North West Company’s original fur-trading post which was established in 1812; this was the first non-native settlement in the region. Once gold was discovered in the late 1850s, the population boom of the era began and immigrants arrived in huge waves. To experience the Okanagan Valley of the gold rush era, visit Historic Hat Creek Ranch for a taste of the old road house life.

Orchards and vineyards

Father Charles Pandosy was the first arrival in the Okanagan Valley to seize upon the idea of planting orchards and vineyards; he is responsible for planting the first in BC. He also founded the first school in the region and the first Roman Catholic mission in 1860; this mission near Kelowna has been beautifully restored and can be toured today.

The Doukhobor pacifist culture

Another cultural feature that is unique to the region is the Doukhobors. This pacifist sect originated in Russia but fled persecution in the early twentieth century. Settling near Grand Forks, the Doukhobors became a prominent cultural force in the Okanagan Valley between 1909 and 1913, a location perfect for farming and their goal of being self-sufficient. The cultural influence of the sect remains today, and as you travel locally you can visit the Doukhobor flour mill and the Hardy Mountain Douhkobor Village Historic Site—and stop for lunch in a local eatery and get some wonderful borscht and blintzes.

Ghost towns

After the gold rush, the railroad industry, and the coal mining towns of yesteryear all waned, various mining and industrial towns that dotted the Okanagan Valley dried up and turned into ghost towns. Take the Dewdney Trail beginning in Princeton to visit them, and don’t miss Blakeburn and Granite City.

The smallest city in Canada with a fascinating history

Greenwood, Canada is the smallest city in the country with only 625 citizens, and this alone makes it an interesting visit. But more than that, its historic importance should keep Greenwood on your list. Greenwood was the site of a World War II internment camp, and with approximately 1,000 internees flooding the tiny town during the war, the town changed significantly.

Many internees stayed in Greenwood permanently after the war, changing the face of the town forever and transforming it culturally in a totally unique way. The 1998 Oscar-nominated film Snow Falling on Cedars, which told the story of Japanese-American internees, was shot in Greenwood.

Napa 2.0: A new wine country experience for Americans

Napa Valley gets all of the press when it comes to wine country, but Okanagan Valley gives Napa a run for its money.

Okanagan Lake stretches through the valley for 70 miles between the Monashee and Cascade ranges. The valley’s walls rise around the lake, and they are almost completely covered with orchards and vineyards—the fruit basket of Canada. Visiting from spring, through summer and into the beginning of autumn, the air itself smells of fruit.

The entire Okanagan Valley is filled with small-batch wineries run by true aficionados who man the grounds and tasting rooms themselves—more than 200 of them. The wines in the region express the land and weather where they are produced.

Towards the northern end of Okanagan Valley the orchards are situated and the temperatures are cooler; these conditions produce fresh, crisp white wines. In the southern portion of the valley, where it is drier and warmer, more reds such as cabernet sauvignons and merlots are produced.

As has happened in California, Okanagan Valley growers have replaced native American vines with high-quality European varietals, further improving their wines. Local wineries such as Cedar Creek have even won multiple gold medals at prestigious American wine competitions like the Los Angeles County Fair Wines of the World.

One of the best ways to enjoy the wine and wineries of the Okanagan Valley is to take a cycle-to-winery tour. There are multiple versions of this kind of tour in the area, and all allow you to experience a huge range of products, take in breathtaking scenery, and finish with a gourmet meal in a stunning setting.

And the place where the Okanagan Valley clearly takes the lead over Napa Valley? Price and value. Okanagan Valley is a younger wine region and the prices reflect that. And with a current exchange rate of about 1 US dollar for every 1.26 Canadian, you’re saving a lot of money there, too.

Wineries to visit in the Okanagan Valley:

For a list of wineries: http://www.winebc.com/discover-bc/okanagan-valley

For some critics’ picks: http://www.winespectator.com/wct/region/rid/101

http://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/canada/british-columbia/okanagan-wine-country

http://www.winesofcanada.com/featured_winery_visit2015.html

Nightlife, arts, and music to suit the American sense of taste and style

Arts and entertainment are widely expressed in the Okanagan Valley, and performing arts centres in the region share a common mission of artistic, creative, and cultural development. Locals, travelers, and artists from all over the world converge here for drumming and jam sessions, creative arts workshops; performances and Indigenous events.

Great events are showcased in the many fine Okanagan Valley theatres. A huge range of events come through the area, and between the South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre, Ballet Kelowna, the Many Hats Theatre, the Vernon Performing Arts Theatre, the Cleland Theatre, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the Sunshine Theatre Company and many other venues and troupes, there is almost always a range of nightlife and cultural options to suit almost anyone.

Penticton and Kelowna are the arts and nightlife hubs in the Okanagan Valley. The Soundstage Productions annual musical theatre show at the Penticton Lakeside Resort draws lots of excited crowds, as do the Penticton Art and Tumbleweed Galleries.

Downtown Penticton puts on the annual sunshine cabaret summer concert series in Gyro Park that includes the night market. The Barking Parrot Bar has a large patio just steps from Okanagan Lake and offers entertainment throughout the year including summer patio music. The Mule Night Club is open late for those wishing to hit the dance floor for most of the night.

The Kiwanis Music and Speech Arts Festival is an Okanagan Valley spring tradition for amateur performing artists. Each year in March and April participants compete in brass, dance, piano, speech arts, vocals, woodwinds, and other areas just before the Kelowna Kiwanis Music Festival.

The Pacific NW Elvis Festival, also called the Penticton Elvis Festival, is a three day long Elvis celebration—and what could be more American than that?! Elvis impersonators come from all over the world for this event, but there can be only one winner each year in Penticton on the shores of Okanagan Lake. And you can take in the Elvis mania on the same weekend as the Peach City Beach Cruise, right at the start of summer in early June.

Speaking of things uniquely American, you can attend some amazing jazz festivals in the Okanagan Valley. The annual BC Interior Jazz Festival is in Kelowna in April each year and has been in existence for more than 35 years.

The Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival is a summertime jazz offering, taking place in August of each year at the Salmon Arm BC Fair Grounds.

The Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival happens just after Labor Day each year in Penticton, and the Rare Earth Jazz and Blues Fest takes place in Vernon.

For more fun arts and culture that Americans can relate to, check out the Summerland Bluegrass Festival in June at the Summerland BC Rodeo Grounds. And if you like to play, bring your instrument and join in!

Or, if dancing is more your thing, wait until August and the Penticton Square Dance Festival during the Penticton Peach Festival; there you can square dance for four solid days with 800 other enthusiasts.

The Funtastic Sport and Music Festival in Vernon is home to Canada’s biggest slow pitch softball tournament. For the last 25 years the event has taken place in early July over the long Canada Day weekend, and Americans will love this four day long softball and music party.

Family time in the Okanagan Valley

The family vacation is an American tradition and the Okanagan Valley is the perfect place to carry on with it. Here are just a few of the awesome family-friendly things to do in the valley.

Ice skating and skateboarding

For your boarding buddies, Penticton is home to a huge skate park alongside Riverside Park. Admission is free, the park has lots of events during the summer months, and it is supervised. Bonus: Loco Landing Mini Golf Mini golf is right next door, and it also has bumper boats, bungee bouncing, go karts and rock wall climbing. During the winter months head over to Kelowna for outdoor ice skating at Stuart Park on Water Street. It’s a pretty, well-groomed rink near the lake and a fun place to hang out with some cocoa, too.

Penticton Speedway

If you have a need for speed, hit the Penticton Speedway for some family-friendly oval track auto racing. On the weekends there are both day and night races and lots of fun entertainment.

Osoyoos

Head south to the desert region of the Okanagan Valley and visit the Osoyoos Desert Center. There you can explore the unique desert ecosystem and its flora and fauna. This is also the perfect trip for a stop at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory for a look into a massive radio telescope.

Kelowna

Kelowna isn’t a huge metropolis, but they’ve got the market cornered on parks. Visit the Hot Sands Beach and City Park for water sports rentals and beach fun as well as a boardwalk and playground with zipline and waterpark.

The Mission Creek Park has a great playground and rope pyramid as well as an indoor Environment Educational Center (EECO) where you can observe Kokanee salmon spawning right there in town from late September to early October.

Fruit orchards

There are lots of opportunities for picking your own fruit in the Okanagan Valley (as long as it’s not winter). It’s a wonderful experience for kids, and a tasty one!

Family-friendly wineries and distilleries

Believe it or not, there are lots of family-friendly wineries in the Okanagan Valley! Most offer interesting educational activities for kids as well as lots of fun. If you’ve been wondering how to get some wine time in with your kids in tow, you can do it here.

If distilled spirits are more your thing, visit the Okanagan Spirits Distillery. Your kids will be fascinated by the gigantic, bubbling copper distiller and it’s right near the park, the marina and ice cream.

Conclusion

Have you packed your bags yet? The Okanagan Valley is the perfect trip for an American on the go. There is literally something for everyone here, yet it’s only a quick, cheap flight away. You’ll love the experience of doing new, exciting things without breaking the bank or needing a translator, too!


group of happy young people dancing and spraying at the beach on beautiful summer sunset

Best things to do this summer in the Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan Valley is always the perfect place to spend your summer. But what are the best things to do this summer in the Okanagan Valley? You’re going to love what’s going on in 2016:

June

Looking for some funky “new” stuff for your place? Check out the Okanagan Vintage Fair happening June 4 and 5 all day in Kelowna. If you love retro, kitsch, antiques, and just weird, interesting stuff, this is your event. Keeping to the spirit of everything old being new again, check out the Summerland Bluegrass Festival happening daily from June 10 through June 12. This fun festival features all kinds of bluegrass and other traditional acoustic music, and it’s fun for all ages.

Is doing something sporty more your speed? Check out Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! presented by Choices Markets on June 18 and 19, 2016 from 8:00am to 6:00pm in Kelowna. This is an incredible outdoor hockey festival and street hockey tournament and a ton of fun for your whole family. Players of all ages 7 and up can compete, so put together a team and sign up on their website now.

Maybe you’d rather attend something akin to a tremendous city-wide party?

Penticton in June has you covered with the Peach City Beach Cruise. This amazing event is happening from June 24 through June 26 between 7:00am to 11:00pm each day, and you won’t believe how many events take place all day long. Some highlights of the weekend include the Friday Afternoon Wine Tour, the Friday evening Main Street Parade of Show Cars, and the outdoor concerts that will happen all weekend. Finally, speaking of concerts, the Penticton Elvis Festival also happens June 24 – 26, and if you’re a fan of The King or rock and roll, you’ll love this incredible weekend.

July

July is always a great month in the Okanagan Valley. Start it out right with the Canada Day celebration of your choice; Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, and other towns in the region have excellent celebrations planned this year. Then, on July 2 head to Penticton for Slide the City, a ridiculously fun day when 1,000 feet of slick vinyl adorn the city streets, turning the place into a gigantic water slide.

If you’re a wine aficionado, don’t miss the 5th Annual Party in the Park on Friday, July 8 in Okanagan Falls. At this event 14 premier wineries join together to present a tasting festival and BBQ buffet dinner catered by Chef Jordan Ash. You’ll love picnicking on the shore of Skaha Lake, dancing, and listening to “My Kind of Karma,” a local band. Leave the kids home for this one, because it’s for ages 19 and older with ID.

If you’d rather challenge yourself physically, train for the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan cycling race taking place on July 10 in Penticton. More than 2,800 cyclists rode the course in 2015, and there will be even more trying the three routes in 2016: the Cortofondo (55 km), Mediofondo (92 km), and Granfondo (160 km) offer varying levels for all different riders.

Finish out the month of July in Kamloops taking in the Kamloopa Pow Wow daily from July 29 to 31. This is the 37th Annual Kamloopa Powwow, and it is among the largest and most significant celebrations of First Nations’ heritage and culture in the nation. Come enjoy the stunning music, dance, storytelling, and culinary offerings.

August

As summer comes to a close, don’t miss the 5th Annual Ribfest happening daily from August 5 through 7 in Kamloops. This is a lot of fun, and of course great eating.

You’ll also love the rib cook-off which is seriously entertaining and the live entertainment and music throughout the event. And for more old western family fun, check out Canada’s Famous Cowboy Dinner Show Fridays from July 1 through August 26 in Vernon.

Now in its 7th season, this show gives you everything from a stagecoach robber to authentic cowboy steak with all the fixins’. You’ll be getting the real deal from author and historian Ken Mather as you learn to rope, ride a stagecoach, and otherwise master your cowboy skills around he campfire.

Summary

2016 is going to be a busy summer here in the Okanagan Valley. Are you ready for an amazing few months? We hope you enjoyed our lineup of the best things to do this summer in the Okanagan Valley, and we will see you there!


A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Valley View Farm

Woman inside greenhouse at valley view farm

I was lucky enough to visit Valley View Farm in Penticton recently, where I got the chance to chat with the team that has made the organics farm such a hit at the Penticton Lakeside Resort: Resort Owner David Prystay, Valley View Farm’s General Manager Michelle Younie, and Penticton Lakeside Resort's Executive Chef, Chris Remington.

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Travel apps are a must-have when traveling

7 Travel Apps For Your Best Vacation Ever

Travel apps are a must-have when traveling
Travel made easy with these easy-to-use travel apps

You’ve just booked your first vacation in years. You know who you’re going with and for how long. You know you can expect beautiful weather, spectacular culture and unreal memories. But as you pull your dusty suitcase out from your closet, your vision blurred with the dozens of destination photos you scanned earlier on Google, you suddenly realize: Where the heck do I even begin in organizing this trip?

No need to fret, avid-traveler. All too familiar with the stress that can arise from planning and executing an unforgettable vacation, I’ve put together a list of the best travel apps to use to guarantee a smooth trip. Oh yeah, and all these travel apps are 100% free.

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What You Need To Know About Travel Insurance

Do you really need to buy travel insurance? Get the facts and find out.
Do you really need to buy travel insurance? Get the facts and find out.

Chances are great that you've been faced with the issue of whether or not to buy travel insurance before. If you're like most people you probably didn't buy it, and that may have been a wise choice. However, it's important to understand what you need to know about travel insurance if you want to make a smart decision about whether or not to use it.

The Basics

There are four kinds of travel insurance generally, along with several add-ons and variations. The big four are: Trip Cancellation, Lost Personal Effects and Baggage, Emergency Medical, and Accidental Death. Variations and add-ons include 24 Hour Traveler Assistance, Dental, Emergency Evacuation, Rental Car Collision/Damage, and Travel Delay. How much travel insurance costs depends on your age, what kind of coverage you're getting, and the total cost of the trip. According to the Insurance Information Institute, typical policies run about 5 to 7 percent of the cost of the trip. The majority of policies are sold by travel industry professionals who also earn commissions on sales.Read more


Pros and Cons of Using a Travel Agent

Travel agent - pros and cons
Is it still wise to use a travel agent?

Traveling is so different than it once was; to book much of anything you really needed to use a travel agent. However, now that almost everything is online, you probably book a lot of travel yourself. So is there are reason to use a travel agent anymore? In reality, there are the pros and cons of using a travel agent—and also to booking online on your own:

Advice and Insight into the Industry

Pro: Agents often know the best days and times to travel, how early you should book to save the most, and which attractions and resorts are the most inviting. They are also more adept with warning you about advisories and risks, not to mention obscure must-sees that you otherwise might miss.

Con: Travel websites put most of their resources into accessing many different deals and travel options. For this reason you may be able to find all kinds of choices yourself just by searching effectively.Read more