- Food & Drink
- Travel & Lifestyle
- Arts & Culture
- News & City Info
Traffic was diverted and a couple hundred people hit the downtown core Friday late afternoon and evening for the first-ever "Rock the Block" in the 200 block of Main Street.
The concept of block rocking and facsimiles thereof in downtown Penticton is nothing new. In August of 2019, there was a outdoor mardi gras-style party right next door in the 200 block of Martin. Just a couple months after that, there was "Foodtopia" in the 500 block of Main.
But this one stands out as the first such effort since the pandemic washed ashore in early 2020.
And although the event ultimately wasn't quite as populated as it probably should have been given the fun on display (what first-time events are?) there was enough of a buzz that organizer Megan Lindow of La Crème Skincare and Boutique is looking hard at doing it all again. And maybe again after that.
There were kids-focused games and frivolities scattered up and down the 200 block yesterday, including stuff like bean bag tosses and bouncy castles. And for the more grown up among us, there was a real live rock and roll cover band -- "NFA," out of Kelowna -- just tearing it up at the north end of the street, and a couple of DJs in the "Green Gaia" tent just a few feet away who'd fill in when the band took a break.
NFA's extended jam on the 1979 mega-hit My Sharona was especially memorable.
Most shops stayed open late for the event, and some displayed their wares on the sidewalk.
And there were refreshments too.
We stopped at a slushie stand run by Emma Deighton of La Crème and assorted volunteers.
"La Crème is hosting their second anniversary of being opened," she said. "We actually opened a week before lockdown, and then we had to close. We reopened about a year later, and now we're hosting this party."
According to Deighton they'd given away 100-plus slushies by the time PentictonNow dropped by, and taken in lots of tips through their clever "Tip the Scales" concept where tippers could toss their coins and bills into containers marked "Johnny Depp" and "Amber Heard."
Another Tip the Scales pitting Chris Rock versus Will Smith could be found a half black away.
Deighton gave props to students from Summerland Secondary, who apparently turned out in a big way to volunteer for the event.
One of the most popular stops on the makeshift midway was a bathtub sitting in the middle of the street, where kids seemed to get a real kick putting on giant eyeglasses and other paraphernalia and kicking back.
When we arrived, little Jaiden, Woodjina and Dev were having an absolute hoot trying on disguises.
"We're showcasing the businesses," said La Crème's Lindow. "Brick and mortar got hit so hard over the past couple years but we're still here and we're still standing. So don’t forget about us. We're a good time in the downtown core."
Lindow said she's aware of issues of crime and vagrancy, but added that "Penticton is still an amazing town to live in. You can see it by the crowd that's here tonight."
And yes, this may be just the first Rock the Block of many Rock the Blocks.
"I am thinking about doing it again next year, I'm thinking about the fall too," she said, smiling. "I mean, we can have events again, so let's do it!"