It’s not every day that a marriage proposal happens in front of 5,000 people. That didn’t stop the couple at the 32nd annual Funtastic Slo Pitch and Music Festival, as they took to Vernon’s stage to get engaged.
Vernon’s Justin Haapala arranged the proposal to Stephanie Purchase, originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, Saturday night during Shawn Lightfoot Band’s set, said Funtastic Sports Society secretary Deb White.
“We got them backstage under a ruse that they won a backstage pass,” said White.
Purchase had no idea.
“She was shocked, she said yes,” said White.
White carried the ring around for the entire day to ensure that it was kept secret.
“All I thought was ‘don’t lose the ring.’”
The couple, after kissing, slow danced to Blue Rodeo’s Lost Together which Lightfoot learned especially for them.
As a local, Haapala has known president Diana Williamson for over 10 years and was able to make arrangements for the set up.
This isn’t the first year for marriage proposals either.
“One couple met, got engaged, and are still playing (years later),” said Williamson.
Overall, the event went off without any major difficulties, with Saturday night crowds reaching almost full capacity at the DND grounds, which is 7,000.
Over 200 teams filled Vernon’s softball diamonds.
“We had 20 diamonds around town going (at the same time),” she said.
The event attracted crowds from as far away as Vancouver Island.
Devon Heard, a Port Alberni local who moved to Kelowna, came out to play with the Redline Reapers.
“The weekend was a grand time. Every game was competitive and spirited. Every single person I ran into was friendly and a treat to meet,” he said.
Armstrong and Enderby also had a large numbers of participants.
There were no major incidents.
Players experienced mixed weather with sun, cloud, wind and a little rain. The heat was on with highs of 31C Thursday and temperatures ranging between the 20s to 30s all weekend.
On Friday, Williamson said they experienced a little rain which “calmed the dust down on the diamonds.”
The costumes were a hit with players dressing up as Minions, pirates, cats and more.
Crowds gathered at Funtastic’s main stage to enjoy music from headliner Big Sugar, Platinum Blonde, and The Hip Show (Tragically Hip tribute band) to name a few.
More photos from the Funtastic Music Festival can be seen on The Vernon Morning Star’s Facebook page.