If you’ve attended an event in the downtown core before, it’s likely the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) was behind it.
In 2018, the organization hosted 25 events which attracted more than 60,000 people.
“Our goal with all events is to significantly contribute to the economic prosperity of downtown,” said Dudley Coulter, events and marketing coordinator at the DVA, explaining 2018 was a near-record year with more than 60,000 residents and visitors in attendance.
Throughout the year, the DVA promotes community spirit through 25 events, including:
* Free Parking Days are downtown-wide customer appreciation days which increase pedestrian traffic throughout the downtown core. In the spring and fall dates, there are live buskers and mini-events to keep shoppers interested. Businesses are encouraged to pull their sale items onto the sidewalk to contribute to a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. Dates this year are March 2, May 4, Oct. 5 and Dec. 7.
* Sunshine Festival is downtown’s premier event and the largest of its kind in the North Okanagan attracting more than 150 vendors and almost 15,000 people. The festival celebrates local culture and community through two live stages, more than 25 food trucks, children’s activities, sports, a beer garden and a community showcase. The festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2019, June 15.
* Civic Sounds is a weekly, free outdoor concert series held at Civic Plaza attracting 800-1,200 people every week. The concert features the region’s biggest bands, intermission performances and three food vendors per week (Eat to the Beat). Every Thursday from 6-8 p.m. in July and August.
* Try It @ Justice Park is downtown’s newest event aimed at the health and wellness sector. This weekly, free outdoor event features various drop-in classes instructed by downtown businesses on the grass at Justice Park. Every Wednesday from 12-1:30 p.m. in July and August.
* Treat Trail is a downtown-wide celebration of Halloween. This annual event attracts almost 5,000 people for a trick-or-treat trail throughout the downtown core Over 80 businesses participate. October 31.
* Light Up is Greater Vernon’s unofficial kick-off to the holiday season heldin the heart of Vernon. This free community event attracts almost 7,000 people to downtown for attractions like a massive bonfire, Santa Claus, a community showcase, holiday shopping, children’s activities and of course Vernon’s ‘Legacy Tree’. This year’s date is Nov. 30.
* UnWined is the ultimate ladies’ night out during Vernon Winter Carnival featuring 10-12 businesses who have teamed up with wineries, breweries and distilleries to offer ticket holders a night of shopping, alcohol and food tasting. 250 tickets sold out in 5 hours in 2018.
* Chili Cook-Off, also during Vernon Winter Carnival, is a chili competition between 9+ restaurants who think they have the recipe to win over the taste buds of locals. Over 450 ticket holders take to the streets of downtown tasting chili and vote for their favourites.
Businesses and organizations interested in participating in an event held downtown can contact the DVA office at (250) 542-5851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.