By Carol Sheridan
Each day this week will bring changes to Oliver Community Park as the site is prepared for the 7th Annual Oliver Sunshine Festival taking place August 17-20.
Saturday, August 19 will be the first Roots & Fruits Expo, where festival-goers of all ages can expect all the elements of a great summer event including a parade down Main Street, kiddie activities, food village, vendors, agriculture and heritage exhibits, pie eating and pie baking contests and hours of live entertainment on the community stage.
Thanks to the generosity of some local service organizations and businesses, admission to the Expo is free.
Following the 10:30 am parade down Main Street, the Rotary main stage will kick off with Nice Verdes, an indie folk duo who have travelled the world studying and playing music. Open auditions were held on July 22 and August 8 for the Oliver’s Got Talent Show sponsored by The Dance Studio, the result being a fantastic variety of singing and dancing acts with the youngest performer at eight years old and the oldest performer at 16. Sam Williams – singing; Dee Dee Shaw – lyrical dance; Ruth Otto – jazz dance; Sara Bousfield – lyrical dance; Laura and Kelan Harty – tap dance; Krisi Decker – jazz dance; Jack Vernon-Wood – singing; Kyah Allen – singing and playing ukulele. Performances begin at 1 pm; do not miss this fun show and the chance to support these young stars.
New to the festival this year is the addition of a children’s stage featuring Pico’s Palace puppet show and storytelling for young children, and some special exhibits in the Community Hall including the Sagebrusher’s Roots and Fruits Art Show, the Oliver Heritage Society and the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre.
Out in the park families can enjoy food, shopping, craft stations, henna and glitter tattoos, wine barrel train rides and interactive exhibits such as gold panning, an observation bee hive and a giant sand box.
There will be traditional picnic games like sack races and relays and a pie eating contest. Farmers and gardeners are invited to enter their “strangest vegetable” into the contest sponsored by the Town of Oliver, and bakers are encouraged to enter their best fruit pie into the first Roots and Fruits Pie Baking Contest sponsored by Parties and Pies.
Youth eight years and over who like sports are encouraged to participate in the free “Introduction to Lacrosse” clinics taking place at the Curling Club from 1-2:00 pm and again at 2-3 pm. Supervision and all equipment during the one-hour session will be provided.
Cool off afterwards in the Oliver Pool, which will be open for a two-hour everyone welcome “Loonie Swim” between 2-4 pm. The Buy-Low Foods main stage entertainment will kick off at 6 pm with back-to-back local bands Mysterious Sonic Booms followed by Rebel Luv, both ready to rock out with classic and contemporary favourites.
The headliner for the show is the Chris Buck Band out of Vancouver, who is the 2016 BCCMA Country Club Act of the Year that just recently reached the Billboard Country Chart Top 20 with their hit “That’s When You Know.”
Another exciting event taking place over the weekend is the speech and personal presentations for the Oliver Ambassadors at Venables Theatre Friday night, and Saturday night is their coronation event also at the Venables Theatre. Tickets are available at the door.
Wrap up the festival on Sunday morning with the church service in the park. Everyone is welcome. Festival attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating, two pieces of ID for the entrance gate to the fully licenced site, and to leave pets at home.
For a full entertainment listing of the Roots and Fruits Expo including all performance times, activities and contests, please visit www.oliverrecreation.ca .