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Biking tourism focus: Summerland, Penticton and Naramata partner on ‘Chain of Events’

April 29, 2016

For the past few years, I’ve been writing every spring about the power of cycling as an economic rejuvenator. Happily, on every front the cycling infrastructure in the Okanagan region continues to grow.

2 years ago a comprehensive economic impact study was done on the proposed North Okanagan Rail Trail that indicated significant benefits in terms of full time jobs and incremental spending. Many different types of businesses will benefit, such as accommodation facilities, food and beverage establishments, transportation companies, wineries, museums, recreation facilities and retail trade outlets.

A key consideration is that the expansion of cycling and trail routes provides all these economic benefit in our shoulder seasons, bringing people to the region as early as March/April and giving them the opportunity to enjoy the area right through Oct/November.

Similar economic benefits are expected to come to the South Okanagan and we have already seen many changes in the past 15 months. By working in their own arenas and together, the provincial government, the RDOS, our municipal governments, the South Okanagan Indian bands and numerous community groups have made great strides.

At their recent AGM, the Trail of the Okanagans Society provided a time line itemizing these which include ones directly impacting Summerland, such as the opening, last summer, of Phase I of the Lakeside Pathway connecting Lower Town to Trout Creek.

A few months ago stakeholders met to discuss options for Phase II of the Lakeside Pathway between SunOka Beach and Penticton and the Province, MOTI and Summerland and Penticton municipal councils have now committed funds for the design study.

Phase III, connecting Summerland to Peachland via the Fur Brigade Trail is also being planned and has support from groups to the north of Summerland. A new local bike path, as part of the municipal Garnett Valley Rd. resurfacing project, will link people to the trail.

In order to more effectively market this growing infrastructure to tourists, Penticton, Summerland and Naramata have joined together and have received funding support from our municipalities and from Destination BC for a spring bike festival called Chain of Events. This is a May and early June regional festival highlighting all the various events that are available for bike enthusiasts to join and is being promoted in the lower mainland and Alberta.

Two Summerland events that are featured are Tea at the Top on May 8, sponsored by Trail of the Okanagans and the new bike race event as part of the Giants Head Grind on the May long weekend.

In 2017 the communities hope to launch a signature event that takes riders on a horseshoe shaped tour between the 3 communities and will involve a water element.

Please visit http://www.okchainofevents.com to see the full regional list and learn about all the events.

We always appreciate your feedback. Please contact me at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com or our Chamber President, Erick Thompson, at president@summerlandchamber.com .

Christine Petkau is the Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.

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Is labour an issue for your business?

March 11, 2016

Is labour an issue for your business?  Finding the right employees? Training them and finally, hanging on to the right people?  If so, you’re not alone.  On March 18th the South Okanagan is rolling out solutions.

We’ve known anecdotally that labour has been a challenge but in the last 5 months, partners in the South Okanagan have gone to great lengths to prove it.

These partners have included South Okanagan chambers along with regional economic development staff, the City of Penticton, Okanagan College Faculty of Business and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skill Training.  With funding provided by the Ministry and the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition, a researcher was engaged to discover key issues for employers.

Frequently mentioned relocation issues included the cost of living, housing costs and availability, seasonality of available work, business skill building, community reticence to growth, workers with spouses who can’t find employment, and succession planning.   But across all the sectors, shortages in skilled labour was number one.

At the same time, the City of Penticton had received funds from the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada to engage in a specific labor study researching many elements of the labor question and the Local Immigration Partnership Council has also recently released its report on the employment experiences of recent immigrants.

Combine all of this formal research with the business walks conducted in Summerland and other South Okanagan communities in October and that’s a lot of data.

On the morning of March 18th we’re bringing together a panel of the region’s most creative employers, large and small, and across sectors, to share their best solutions for managing this key business issue.  All employers attending will be asked to prioritize ‘what we must do first’ and help inform the next steps in our region.  The forum will be held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre and will provide tangible solutions for our business members and culminate in a stronger more competitive regional business environment.

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Summerland Chamber salutes awards finalists

February 4, 2016

We have reached the 78th year of our Business & Community Excellence Awards in Summerland, BC and this year our nominees totaled 59 businesses in 11 categories.  Quite an achievement for a Chamber that has just over 700 members.

Last month we featured those nominees and now, as the voting nears its completion and the awards gala approaches at the end of the month, we want to profile our finalists.

Business of the Year Award sponsored by Summerland Credit Union

Finalist: Dirty Laundry Vineyard (Proprieters: Bob Camp­bell, Her­mann Teicht­meis­ter, Neil MacGillivray and Lance Bussiere )
Dirty Laundry has been one of the major tourist destinations relating to the wine industry in Summerland. They have continuously increased their bottling output year after year and have worked to ensure that all visitors to the winery have a positive experience, resulting in a 2015 Certificate of Excellence Award from Trip Advisor. Dirty Laundry also contributes to the community by employing around 30 local people during the summer and by donating wine to local community events.

Finalist: True Grain Bread (Owner Todd Laidlaw)

Winner of the Business of the Year award in 2014, True Grain Bread has become Summerland’s  favourite Old World inspired European bakery. Their high value products, combined with increased outreach at markets around the Valley, as well as their consistent branding and vibrant story telling, has resulted in True Grain drawing loyal customers from throughout the Vernon to Osoyoos corridor.Todd and the team at True Grain supports numerous local charities, events and organizations through product donations and monetary contributions.

Citizen/Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Nesters Market

Finalist: Paul Barber & Charlotte Burley

Paul is the Co-founder of the Summerland Rotary Sunday Market, The Community Services Director of the Rotary Club and on the organizing committees for Trail of the Okanagans and the Giant’s Head Grind-Christopher Walker Memorial Race. Charlotte is the volunteer manager of the Summerland Meals on Wheels Program (delivers meals 156 days annually), Chairperson of the Summerland United Church (SUC) Social & Community Planning Committee and volunteers with many other organizations in town.

Finalist: Karen Hooper

Karen is the Coordinator for the Summerland Blossom Pageant, and has been for the past 8 years.This entails a minimum 5 hour a week commitment all year long, and consists of many hours away from home travelling with the Summerland Royalty to represent Summerland at their many provincial events. In between coordinating all of the girl’s schedules, events and trips, Karen has also found time to be a member of the Summerland Sister City Committee for the past 6 years, and volunteer as a Girl Guide leader for the past 18 years.

Trade Services Excellence Award sponsored by Alder Street Autobody

Finalist: Summerland Glass and Mirror Ltd. (Owner, Randy Bach)

Since its establishment in 1986, Summerland glass has been servicing the glass needs of Summerland and surrounding areas. Throughout its years of operation one thing has remained unchanged, that is their commitment to customer satisfaction. They strive to stay current with new products, ideas and services, keeping them a cut above the competition. Their goal is to provide big city service with small town commitment.

Finalist: Summerland Tirecraft Auto Centre (Owner, Les McAvany)

Summerland Tirecraft Auto Centre provides tires and wheels as well as expert automotive services. They are committed to giving back to Summerland through great customer service, charitable donations, and community partnerships, such as with the Neighbourlink Community Cars program, where a vehicle is overhauled at Tirecraft and made safe, then is donated to a family in need.

Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence Award sponsored by Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen

Finalist: lone tree coffee (Owners Rochelle & Darin Fair)

Summerland based lone tree coffee is a family owned and operated artisan coffee roastery. They sell their coffee regionally and in local stores such The Beanery Cafe, Nesters Market, IGA, and seasonally at Blossom’s Fruit Stand, promoting local business and manufacturing. Lone tree also supports the local Dry Grad fundraising, as well as providing coffee for numerous events in Summerland.

Finalist: Okanagan Vinegar Brewery (Owner Alois Thurn )

Okanagan Vinegar Brewery produces wine vinegars, balsamic vinegars, wine jellies and condiments locally, that are sold across Canada. Alois has also recently opened up Bodega 1117, a local winery in conjunction with his original business. His products are unique, handcrafted, and make an impressive statement for Summerland.

Technology & Innovation Award sponsored by Accelerate Okanagan

Finalist: Cordillera Consulting (Sue Salter, President)

Cordillera Consulting is an independent freshwater macroinvertebrate taxonomy laboratory located in right here in Summerland. They process freshwater samples from all parts of Canada, from lakes large and small, to rivers, wetlands and streams. Cordillera currently process over 2000 samples per year in the lab, while still finding time to participate in community events and provide samples to local schools for study.

Finalist: What the Fungus (Brian Callow, President & General Manager, Co-owner Thor Clausen)

What the Fungus is a local ag-tech company that produces fresh, seasonal indigenous and exotic mushrooms that are locally and economically grown using environmentally sound growing practices. They have recently developed Summerland’s first laboratory facility to undertake research and development activities related to the growth and propagation of both local and exotic species, and are in the Top 5 for a Small business BC “Best Company” Award.


Professional Services Excellence Award sponsored by Brown Benefits

Finalist: Re/Max Orchard Country (Mike Stohler)

Mike has been with Re/Max for many years, and is known for his friendly demeanor, personal attention and level of dedication to the community of Summerland. A Re/Max Hall of Fame Award Winner, Mike has also achieved Top 14th agent recognition in Re/Max Network of Agents (Western Canada) for number of sales in September & November 2015. All of the other top agents were in primary markets such as West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary. Mike spends his free time volunteering for the Mayor’s Task Force for Summerland’s Economy and Bottleneck Drive Winery Association.


Finalist: RBC Summerland (Terry Sedawie)

Terry is a senior account manager with RBC Summerland, and is known for her award winning service, personal attention and high level of care for the community.Terry has been awarded the “Top 1500” award, honoring exceptional workers out of a community of 70,000 staff, 6 times. She has also received RBC’s highest honor, the “Leo Award” twice. Whether she is helping businesses collaborate or volunteering for local youth organizations, Terry is known for regularly going above and beyond in both her professional life and as a volunteer with SADI and the Special Olympics.

Retail Excellence Award sponsored by The Summerland Review

Finalist: Cherry Tree Quilts (Owner Barbara Gillespie)

Cherry Tree Quilts is a full service quilt store offering everything you need for quilting, sewing, embroidery and fibre art.They sell Elna Sewing Machines and offer bi-weekly in-store sewing machine service. Cherry Tree is a popular destination store throughout the valley, contributing to the success of the downtown by bringing in new shoppers to the area. Barb is also an active member of the Rotary Club, founded the 1st annual “Quilts in the Park” and has donated quilts to be auctioned off for the Local Food Bank.

Finalist: Suburban Princess (Owner Jennifer Kole)

Jennifer opened Suburban Princess 10 years ago in downtown Summerland and has since grown to become one of the most popular shopping destinations in the South Okanagan, as shown by her receiving Okanagan Life’s Best of the Okanagan Award 3 Times. She is consistently expanding her inventory and store offerings, bringing new and interesting things to the community, while also supporting community organizations such as Summerland Minor Hockey & the Summerland Blossom Tea & Fashion Show.

 

Tourism/Hospitality Excellence Award sponsored by Sumac Ridge Estate Winery

Finalist: Kettle Valley Steam Railway (General Manager Ken Orford)

The KVSR is a valuable part of Summerland’s history, and a key Summerland attraction. Since 2008, annual ridership has surpassed 25,000 each year, and in 2015 ridership reached 28,200. Special event trains regularly sell out weeks in advance. In 2015, non-profit funds were $704,000, with all monies generated from the attraction reinvested into infrastructure and the local community. The KVR’s economic impact for local and regional tourism economy is valued in the millions of dollars. Each year the KVSR also runs a special train in support of Agur Lake Camp.

Finalist: Mike West 

Mike West is the Tasting Lounge Manager of Okanagan Crush Pad Winery and has helped to promote Summerland tourism in a variety of ways. Mike designed the first of the new-style Bottleneck Drive passports and the “tube map” style design used on B&B posters and Light Up the Vines passports. In 2015 he introduced and expanded a popular Thursday evening music series, which is already developing a following and brings many tourists to stay in Summerland. Over the years Mike has contributed to many local media publications promoting tourism in the region, including the Summerland Visitor’s Guide, therefore earning the unofficial title of “Duke of Summerland”.

 

Rising Star/New Business Award sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

Finalist: Artisans of the Okanagan (Manager Rudy Skoreyko)

Artisans of the Okanagan is a collective of around 40 artists that have come together to create a business and provide a space for the sale of their products. All products are handcrafted, handmade or homegrown by local artisans here in Summerland. The collective offers something different and unique to the downtown core, bringing in shoppers from all over the valley,helping to market Summerland as an artistic and creative tourism destination in the region.

Finalist: Rotary Summerland Sunday Market (Co-founders Roch Fortin & Paul Barber)

This year Summerland got a new weekend market that offers an opportunity to showcase local farmers, artisans, wineries, crafters, and groups promoting Summerland’s lifestyle, tourist opportunities and special events.The market was extremely successful, bringing in many tourists, promoting over 200 local merchants and vendors and raising over $4,000 for local charities.

Sustainability Leader Award sponsored by IGA Summerland

Finalist: Okanagan Crush Pad Winery (Owners, Christine Coletta & Steve Lornie) 

OCP is an organic, Salmon Safe Summerland winery where the aim is to produce distinct, terroir- focused super-premium wines using sustainable methods. They received a Craft Distillery license this past year enabling them to not only create Okanagan wines but to also make small batch craft spirits from their grapes as well. OCP is a major tourism and agricultural/viticulture destination in Summerland, and the Okanagan, contributing to both an increase in tourist dollars and awareness of the community itself.

Finalist: What the Fungus  (Brian Callow, President & General Manager, Co-owner Thor Clausen)

What the Fungus is a local ag-tech company that produces fresh, seasonal indigenous and exotic mushrooms that are locally and economically grown using environmentally sound growing practices. They have recently developed Summerland’s first laboratory facility to undertake research and development activities related to the growth and propagation of both local and exotic species, and are in the Top 5 for a Small business BC “Best Company” Award.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored by Bottleneck Drive 

Finalist: Corinne Inman (Owner, Morpheus Graphix and Publications Inc.)

Morpheus Graphix prides themselves on supporting the promotion of local businesses through the South Okanagan Explore & Save. In addition to their graphic design work, they produce an annual visitor’s guide and coupon book for the Okanagan-Similkameen that is used as a fundraising tool for charities, non-profits, schools, sports teams, local stores, and more.The number one goal is to promote and assist local communities and businesses to explore local, save local and support local. Cori has also found time to sponsor many local and regional events and organizations, and create a brand new coupon website to supplement the books.

Finalist: Carrie Mayes (Owner, Peanuts & Pumpkins Kids Shoppe)

Opened on Victoria Street in 2013, Peanuts and Pumpkins is a downtown Summerland kid’s shop, specializing in everything related to babies, children and young families.It has since added a new online shop and has become a destination store for those in the Okanagan looking for eco-friendly, non toxic toys and children’s products. Owner Carrie Mayes regularly organizes community events in support of the Summerland Boys and Girls Club, and last year organized Summerland’s Holiday Market in support of the Summerland Food Bank.

The Mayor’s Award of Excellence, given at the Mayor’s discretion to a local organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the community, will also be presented at that time.

The Gala will be held on Saturday, February 27th at the Summerland Waterfront Resort and is catered by Local Lounge*Grille.

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Summerland Chamber celebrates Business Awards nominees with reception

January 26, 2016

The Summerland Chamber of Commerce will present the 78th Annual Business and Community Awards on Saturday, February 27th.  These awards celebrate entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, best business practices, contribution to the economy and to the community.

59 businesses and individuals have been nominated in 11 categories, which is a 35% increase in nominations over last year.  The nominees are as follows:

Business of the Year, sponsored by Summerland Credit Union: Bead Trails, Dirty Laundry Vineyard, Interior Ink Works, Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, Summerland Dental Centre, SWC General Contracting, The Suburban Princess, True Grain Bread, and What the Fungus.

Citizen /Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Nesters Market: Awarded since 1938, this year’s nominees are Paul Barber and Charlotte Burley, Dave and Alison Carleton, Sue Eden, Karen Hooper, Ayman Kanaan, Maryana (Mirjana) Komljenovic, Mary Trainer, Ellen Walker-Matthews, Denise Whittaker, and Ingrid Wuensche.

Rising Star/New Business, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank: Artisans of the Okanagan, Back Door Winery, Beauty Box Studio Inc., Dominion Cider Co., Drew’s Kitchen, Essential Fire Protection Ltd., Esthetics by Nicole, Maximus Vineyard Management, Summerland Sunday Market, Sing Your Song Studios, Synergy Home Inspections, and Tammy’s Brush 2 Canvas.

Young Entrepreneur, sponsored by Bottleneck Drive Winery Association:  Jess Repetowski of Signwave Signs, Corrine Inman of Morpheus Graphix and Publications, and Carrie Mayes of Peanuts and Pumpkins Kids Shop.

Tourism/ Hospitality Excellence, sponsored by Sumac Ridge Estate Winery:  Kettle Valley Steam Railway, Mike West of Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, and TH Wines.

Trade Services Excellence, sponsored by Alder Street Auto Body:  Deputy Diesel Performance, GPH Mechanical, Summerland Glass and Mirror, and Summerland Tirecraft Auto Centre.

Professional Services Excellence, sponsored by Brown Benefits:  Beauty & the Brit, Chantelle Meriam of Edward Jones, Interior Ink Works, Morpheus Graphix and Publications, Terry Sedawie of RBC Royal Bank, Mike Stohler of RE/MAX Orchard Country, Sue Eden of Royal LePage Parkside Realty, Summerland Dental Centre, and Tones Hair Design.

Retail Excellence, sponsored by the Summerland Review: Cherry Tree Quilts, Summerland Home Hardware, The Suburban Princess, Summerland Builders Mart (TIM-BR Mart), and Your Dollar Store With More.

Sustainability Leader, sponsored by IGA Summerland: Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens, Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, Strachan Consulting, SummerGate Winery, and What the Fungus.

Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence, sponsored by Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen: Okanagan Vinegar Brewery and lone tree coffee.

Technology and Innovation, sponsored by Accelerate Okanagan: Cordillera Consulting, ElectroMotion Energy, and What the Fungus.

All of the award nominees will be honoured at a Nominees Reception sponsored by Nesters Market on Thursday, January 28th.

Two finalists will be chosen for each category on February 1st.  The business community will be able to vote electronically on the finalists from February 3 – 18.  The general public will also be invited to vote electronically for the finalists in the Citizen/Volunteer of the Year award.  All awards will be presented at the Gala.

The Mayor’s Award of Excellence, given at the Mayor’s discretion to a local organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the community, will also be presented at that time.

The Gala will be held on Saturday, February 27th at the Summerland Waterfront Resort and is catered by Local Lounge*Grille.

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Nominations for the Summerland Business & Community Awards open until Jan. 20th

January 11, 2016

Every year the Summerland Chamber of Commerce has the privilege of recognizing and honoring our local businesses as well as those who have made a difference in our community.  This year will be the 78th Anniversary of the awards event.

Last year we talked about how connected our community is between businesses, individuals and organizations.  Our buying habits and practices make a tremendous difference on a very local level since the businesses we buy goods and services from locally are then able to support the organizations, clubs and service groups who are so active in Summerland.

Part of being connected is knowing where those goods and services can be found.  In fall the Chamber launched a new website with a comprehensive new business directory that provides this information.

At this year’s Gala we particularly want to celebrate those companies who incorporate community support into their plans for business excellence.  And in 2016 we will be encouraging you to discover all the products and services you can find right here at home.   Thank you for continuing to support Summerland businesses.

Nominations in the following award categories opened on December 14, 2015:

Business of the Year
Rising Star/New Business
Sustainability Leader
Technology and Innovation
Professional Services Excellence
Trade Services Excellence
Manufacturing/Industrial Excellence
Retail Excellence
Tourism and Hospitality Excellence
Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Citizen/Volunteer of the Year

The Mayor’s Award of Excellence continues to be an important acknowledgement of community leadership. This award is given at the Mayor’s discretion to an organization that has made an outstanding contribution to Summerland.

Nominations can be made by the public and by businesses.  Chamber business members (both local and corporate members) are eligible to be nominated. A business may also nominate themselves for an award as we have many businesses in Summerland that are not visible to the general public yet they play a vital role in our economy and are doing excellent work.

Nominations will be open until 5:00 pm on January 20th. Please plan to join us on January 28th at the free annual Nominees Reception, sponsored by Nesters Market, to congratulate all the nominees. A nominations committee will shortlist finalists and from February 3rd – 18th, Chamber of Commerce members will have the opportunity to vote for the winners.  The general public is invited to vote for Citizen of the Year.  The awards will be given out at the Gala on February 27 at the Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa. For online nominations and information about the awards and Gala, please visit www.summerlandchamber.com.

We always appreciate your feedback.  Please contact me at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com  or our Chamber President, Kelly Marshall, at president@summerlandchamber.com .

Christine Petkau is the Executive Director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. 

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Summerland Chamber Reviews the Year

December 16, 2015

2015 has been an exceptional year of new projects and exciting opportunities for the Summerland Chamber.  Here’s a short list of some of those accomplishments:

  • Tourism Management: The Chamber provides comprehensive Destination Management Services to the District of Summerland.  We welcome more than 12,000 visitors each year to our Visitor Centre, provide images, content and design for the Summerland Visitor Guide, manage the image bank and handle all tourism marketing for our town.
  • Regional Bike Path Guides and Summerland Specific Hike and Bike Trail Map: Building on our region’s tourism and economic development focus on biking as an economic driver, we were a partner in the creation of a comprehensive South Okanagan regional bike map and we also used that data as well as other Summerland hiking material to create a new local bike/hike map.
  • GoMedia: In 2015 Destination Canada hosted their annual international travel media conference in Penticton.  We were exhibitors at this conference and also hosted more than 50 international writers through two ½ day fam tours in Summerland.  We have created a new media section with stories and images on the tourismsummerland.com website and the event has already generated media coverage for our community.
  • New chamber website: Our new Chamber website was launched in May.  A clean new look with important information front and centre helps us promote our members and the work of the Chamber, a comprehensive new business directory makes local business easy to find and the site’s responsive design means it is user friendly on all digital platforms, from laptops to handheld devices.  As the Summerland Chamber represents 100% of local businesses, this site is a very important promotional tool for our business community.
  • Our Connected Community video: Launched in February, this video showcases the value of shopping locally.  When we support local businesses, that money flows out to all the local organizations and non-profit groups that make our community vibrant.
  • Sector Meetings: This year we hosted a number of meetings within particular sectors to improve our connections to our members and hear their issues.
  • Business Walks: The Chamber Board, joined by District of Summerland Mayor and Council, also made significant connections with our business community via Summerland’s first ‘Business Walk’.   Seven teams, each made up of a Board member and Councillor were able to meet 66 businesses on the morning of Oct. 22.  A survey was also extended to our membership to gather feedback.  90% of respondents said that business was steady or improving and also shared their perspectives on what we can do to improve the business climate in our community.  The full report, issued on November 9, is available on the Chamber website.
  • Regional Economic Development: The Chamber represents Summerland on the South Okanagan Economic Development Consortium as part of our business retention, attraction and expansion portfolio. This year the regional group has focused on a series of business solutions forums, labour market development and retention, regional airport promotion, ag sector growth and the development of a regional business directory.
  • Summerland Business and Community Awards Gala: Held the last Saturday of February, the 77th awards Gala celebrated of the best of our Summerland businesses and community supporters. Nomination forms for the 78th Gala will be available shortly.
  • Festival of Lights: The 28th annual Festival of Lights, organized each year by the Summerland Chamber, celebrated a Country Christmas theme and was bigger and better than ever. Attendance was excellent and the festival attracted new vendors and activities.  We’re looking forward to more festival excitement in 2016.
  • Growing Web and Social Media Presence: The Chamber reaches thousands of unique visitors each year through our three websites at summerlandchamber.com; tourismsummerland.com and summerlandlightup.com. We also have more than 7,000 daily followers across our 3 Facebook pages, 3 twitter accounts, Instagram, Pinterest and Blog. 

Please connect with us online at SummerlandChamber.com to learn more about our work in Summerland and the South Okanagan. The Summerland Chamber of Commerce wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.

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Summerland Festival of Lights shines a light on community and downtown businesses

November 19, 2015

 

Every year the Summerland Chamber plans and hosts the Okanagan’s premier kick off to the Christmas season.  The 28th annual Festival of Lights will be held on Friday, November 27th this year and the theme is Country Christmas.  Just over 6000 visitors are expected for the evening.

We love Light Up because it gives us a chance to celebrate the season, showcase our beautiful downtown and let people know that Summerland is a great community where families thrive and businesses prosper.

The fun begins with the Santa procession at 5:00 pm.  The evening also features western themed Ice Sculptures sponsored by Nesters Market, Santa’s workshop hosted by the Summerland Credit Union, and fun kid zone activities and photos with Santa sponsored by IGA.  All the Summerland Royalty and candidates will be dressed in their western best this year with matching light up Stetsons.  Get a picture of yourself riding ‘El Diablo’ the mechanical bull!  And remind your kids to bring their letters to Santa to drop off at the post office.    Your family will also enjoy pony and ATV rides, bouncy toys, community dancers and choirs and great music.

At 7:00 pm the street will go dark and the whole crowd will count down to the moment of Light Up.  It’s magical!  Fresh from Sun Fest and the Merritt Music Festival, county group The Chris Buck Band will entertain on the main stage this year, along with duo Robyn and Ryleigh.  A spectacular fireworks finale is sponsored by the Summerland Credit Union and will be set to country music.

You’ll also be able to try the most delicious food you’ve ever seen in one place!  We simply couldn’t put on this amazing event without the participation of some great partners,  Festival Services sponsor Progressive Waste Solutions  and Festival Support from the District of Summerland.   See you on November 27th .  You can check out all the activities and details at www.summerlandlightup.com.

This is the kick off to a fantastic weekend with the 5th Annual Light UpThe Vines being held on Saturday and Sunday, November 28th & 29th.  This beautiful self guided winery tour is hosted by our winery association, Bottleneck Drive and their member wineries and cideries.   All the locations are lit for Christmas and offer tastings and other delicious fare.   More information can be found at www.bottleneckdrive.com.

The Summerland Waterfront Resort has exciting accommodation packages designed for the weekend so you can stay and play in style.  Check those out at www.summerlandresorthotel.com.

It’s a fabulous weekend to be in Summerland!

Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at cpetkau@summerlandchamber.com.

 

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