Chamber column: Savouring summer

Darren Robinson, executive director of the Enderby & District Chamber of Commerce, recalls top summer moments.

What a great summer it has been in the North Okanagan…once it got going.

Sure, June brought us some questionable weather and some alarmingly high river levels, but once July and August finally arrived, life was nothing short of glorious where the Okanagan meets the Shuswap. And since year after year I struggle to say goodbye to my favourite season of them all, it seems appropriate to spend some time reliving the top moments from this summer.

The new Cliff Avenue Pedestrian Market, featuring the vendors of the Open Air Farmers’ Market and participating Cliff Avenue businesses, set the pace for summer fun in Enderby by attracting countless travelers off Highway 97A into to town for farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade baking, unique gifts and crafts, specialty items, handmade jewelry and so much more.

It has been incredible to see this market gain in popularity, and in turn, boost our local economy and stir a sense of community pride among residents. Best of all, even though summer is coming to an end, the market will continue on Cliff Avenue every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until mid-October (did someone say fall harvest?).

When the August heat became a bit too much, the Shuswap River was the place to be. Crystal clear water, good friends and endless August sunshine all combined to become the undeniable lure for tubers, canoeists, kayakers and swimmers, all happy to play the day away.

Pound for pound, my favourite Enderby summer moment was trekking up the Enderby Cliffs as part of our team-building event for staff and management of the Enderby & District Chamber of Commerce. There may not (yet) be an overwhelming amount of hiking and biking trails in the immediate area, but in many cases, including this one, quality trumps quantity.

As an avid hiker and professional photographer, I have experienced some fantastic trails in B.C., and the Enderby Cliffs trail is easily one of the best and most rewarding. The three-hour uphill grind may test your endurance, but once at the top, that hard work pays off tenfold thanks to jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Okanagan Valley and Shuswap. This is a hike you’ll long remember.

Other highlights include the formation of an arts cooperative here in Enderby. There is some incredible artistic talent residing here, and in partnership with the Enderby & District Arts Council, we managed to pull almost two dozen of them together with the hopes of creating an artist driven cooperative gallery in Enderby in the near future.

A core group devoted to formalizing the cooperative has now been tasked with moving this exciting project forward and I, for one, can’t wait to see where this goes.

Additionally, as social media continues to challenge the marketing norm for destinations and small businesses alike, this summer saw the launch of our Explore Enderby Twitter Experiment. The concept was simple – create a social media campaign where local businesses and residents become the voice of Enderby by tweeting about life in our beautiful area.

Every two weeks, a new business owner or resident would take the wheel (or mouse) and showcase their home to the world. The experiment has gained in popularity and has since been featured on www.tweet4ok.com. You can follow the experiment at Twitter.com/ExploreEnderby.

Lastly, we want to see how you enjoyed summer in Enderby. Relive your own summer memories and help us relive them with you by participating in the Summer Fun photo contest. Details can be found at www.enderbychamber.com, or on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/enderbychamber). We’ve got some amazing prizes, including a spot on an upcoming fall photograhy workshop with yours truly, an HP Deskjet 3050 photo printer and more. But hurry, images must be submitted by September.

Darren Robinson is the executive director of the Enderby & District Chamber of Commerce.

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