Stephanie Bateman of the Streaming Cafe pedals a bike to power coffee-making equipment during the Downtown Kelowna Block Party on Saturday. The event, presented from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featured food, entertainment and shopping along a section of Bernard Avenue that was closed to traffic.
"It was pouring rain. I think Mother Nature just wanted to calm the dust," joked the communications manager for the Kelowna Downtown Association.
Watters admitted his heart was palpitating with concern "as I was running from street to street trying to avoid the big drops of rain. But it's nice and sunny now," he said at 10 a.m.
By 3 p.m., thunderclouds were massing in the eastern sky. But, with celebrations set to wrap up at 5 o'clock, crowds at the Block Party enjoyed sunshine and warm temperatures for most of the day at least.
Watters hoped attendance would exceed last year's total of 12,000 people.
"There are a lot more vendors and activities this year - 140 vendors and activities," he said. "It's significantly higher than last year, when we had between 70 and 100."
The second phase of Bernard Avenue revitalization is now complete, he added, "so people are really going to get a bird's-eye view, to see what the street has to offer - all the furniture and the gardening. It's two-thirds done."
One of the Block Party highlights was Interior Savings' Kids Stage by Towne Centre Mall, with a climbing wall and monster truck nearby.
"A lot of family-oriented activities and vendors are at that end of the street in the 500 block, but they are also spread out throughout the entire Bernard," Watters said. "So if you have kids and are down by the water, you don't have to walk all the way up there.
"Down here by the water are all the food vendors, which is good because it's my section. They did that by design," he said with a laugh.
"Brittany Hansum, our point person on the project, has been terrific in really mixing it up nicely. She probably starts working on this in October, getting a good sense of what to do next year (and) how to do it better. People today will book for next year because they know how successful it is and how big a party it is."
The milestone 25th-anniversary Block Party in 2014 will coincide with the completion of the $14-million revitalization project, he noted.
"It will be great, but you get a taste of that this year.
"There's really something for everybody. And everything's free. That's the best part. It's a good old-fashioned block party where everybody can enjoy something."