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Cherry Fiesta set for Tuesday
When the 66th annual Cherry Fiesta is held on Canada Day July 1 in Osoyoos, the events will be familiar to those who have attended past celebrations.
The biggest change this year is that the fiesta caps off the five-day Desert Live music festival that runs at Gyro Park from June 27 onwards.
The final performance at the Gyro Beach band shell during Cherry Fiesta is a concert by Vancouver’s acclaimed No Sinner, which is the final concert of Desert Live.
The stage equipment for the music festival also makes it necessary to move some of the regular Cherry Fiesta events away from the band shell this year.
The pie-eating contest is being moved to the paved area near the beach where the cherry-pit- spitting contest is held, said Lyn Motkoski, chairperson for this year’s Cherry Fiesta, which is run by the Osoyoos Festival Society.
Most events, however, will see few changes, if any.
Events kick off Monday night with the Miss Osoyoos Pageant held at the Sonora Community Centre at 6:30 p.m.
The girls chosen as Miss Osoyoos and princesses will ride the Osoyoos Festival Society’s float during the parade on Tuesday.
Events on Tuesday, July 1 begin with a pancake breakfast at Town Square from 7 to 11 a.m. This year the breakfast is being run by the Rotary Club of Osoyoos, which stepped in after the Lions Club disbanded earlier this year.
About 10 minutes prior to the parade down Main Street at 11 a.m., the traditional water fight takes place on the block between Home Hardware and Shoppers Drug Mart.
Children and adults armed with various water weapons take on the high-powered hoses of the Osoyoos and Anarchist Mountain firefighters.
“It’s on both sides of the street, so we always try to tell people not to go there unless they want to get wet,” said Motkoski. “We also try to encourage people, the kids in particular, not to bring water balloons for safety reasons.”
The parade itself begins with floats and participants lined up on Nighthawk Drive and continues along Heron Lane to Main Street. It then continues down Main Street and disperses near Family Foods.
Roads along the parade route will be closed from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and traffic will be routed along 62nd Ave. and Kingfisher Drive, Motkoski said.
A parking ban is in effect on Main Street from 6 a.m. onwards.
After the parade, the main action moves to Gyro Park where concerts run throughout the day at the bandshell, starting with Dale Seaman and Highway 97 at noon.
This is followed by Dance Oasis shortly after 1 p.m. and opening ceremonies at 1:30 p.m.
Gyro Beach will be the site of craft and food venues as well as the Elks’ Beer Garden. The cherry pit spit contest runs from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and will be followed by the cherry-pie-eating contest from 3:30 to 4 p.m.
The Osoyoos Legion Hall is the site of a beer garden, entertainment, draws and beef on a bun from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. This event is organized by the Legion and is not a Festival Society event, Motkoski said.
As in past years, the fiesta is capped off with fireworks over the lake at Gyro Beach, which start at dusk around 10 p.m.
Osoyoos remains home to the second-largest Canada Day fireworks display in the country, behind only the one held in the nation’s capital in Ottawa.
The fireworks are organized by a separate committee with Etta-Mae Pratt, Annette Star and Frank Zandvliet.
“Things are going really well,” said Motkoski. “I think we’re going to have the same fantastic show that we have every year.”
Cherry Fiesta usually attracts between 7,000 and 10,000 people, including both local residents and out-of-town visitors, said Motkoski.
Numbers could be down slightly, she said, because this year it falls on a Tuesday instead of during a long weekend, she said.
NOTE: This story corrects the location of the Miss Osoyoos Pageant to reflect that the event was moved to the Sonora Community Centre. It is not at Osoyoos Secondary Theatre as reported in the Osoyoos Times print edition.