Some of those visiting the park on Sunday stayed away from the festival hubbub and walked to a small bridge over a spawning channel to quietly watch spawning kokanee.
The annual migration of the land-locked salmon is weather dependent, according to Joanne Beaulieu, kokanee interpreter for the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.
"So if you have a stretch of warm days (like early September), we don't see much in the creek. But they do travel at night as well." She spoke to a fish counter during the festival in Mission Creek Regional Park on Sunday morning and he told her the numbers are up.
"He's counted quite a few further up the creek. Until they are out of the lake, we really don't know how many are going to end up coming up. They actually originally wait at the head of the creek in the lake for the temperature to cool down, say late August. If it is cool soon enough, they will start coming up in early September."
With two hot spells at the end of summer, kokanee could have waited again, she said. With Sunday's spotty rain and cooler temperatures, "it's great for fish. They love it. It's a perfect day for fish. They don't seem to notice (rain)," she said with a laugh.
As of Sunday, Beaulieu figured the migration has passed the mid-point. "We'll only know when the end is when they stop coming up."
Public interpretive tours on weekends in Kelowna and at Hardy Falls Regional Park, south of Peachland, are always busy. And Beaulieu has had a full schedule of school groups.
"Full days of classes come. Busloads of 30 kids at a time," she said.
At the festival, the North Okanagan Pipes and Drums performed. There were crafts for children, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue set up a display, and community groups like the Friends of Mission Creek had information tables.
However, the ultimate attraction was the spawning kokanee. You could take an interpretive tour, just watch them swimming upstream from several bridges or walk beside the creek to get a closer look. The kokanee didn't disappoint with hundreds taking advantage of cooler temperatures to find a mate, create a small bowl in the creek bottom, and deposit their eggs, before covering them with the fine gravel.