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Attendance climbs at O'Keefe Ranch

North Okanagan students have a chance to explore the school room at O’Keefe Ranch. The historic site has experienced an increase in public interest. - O
North Okanagan students have a chance to explore the school room at O’Keefe Ranch. The historic site has experienced an increase in public interest.
— image credit: O'Keefe Ranch photo

A North Okanagan historic site is being rediscovered by locals.

Attendance at O’Keefe Ranch doubled in 2013 from 13,967 to 26,000, and much of that growth is being linked to the Come Visit Us For the First Time Again campaign.

“Many locals have attested that they can’t remember when the last time they visited the ranch,” said Glen Taylor, general manager.

During 2013, the Cowboy Summer Festival and Cowboy Dinner Show were revamped and both showed improved attendance.

New events include the youth summer camp which allowed children to experience early settlement activities like churning butter and ice cream to baking on a wood stove.

“We brought back the family fun daze which allowed families to experience the ranch and enjoy hay rides, stage coach tours, fun crafts for the kids and much more,” said Taylor.

“Also new last year, we started offering a staff appreciation dinner and  a show which also proved very popular for businesses to come and experience a fun-filled evening with their associates.  Let’s not forget our ever popular murder mystery dinner show.”

The season wrapped up with the haunted corn maze.

“It was a huge success with people attending from Kelowna, Penticton, Osoyoos, Merritt, Kamloops  and 100 Mile House,” said Taylor.

“The event was such a success that plans are in the works to make it even bigger, We are looking at adding a second maze to allow everyone to experience the event and shorten the wait times.”

For 2014, there will be a Black Tie and Blue Jeans Gala May 31.

“This gala is one of our larger fundraising events, with proceeds designated to the restoration of the St. Anne’s Church,” said Taylor.

The estimated cost of the restorations is $100,000.

For more information about the ranch and details on the gala, go to www.okeeferanch.ca.

 

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