Let it snow â€” one way or another. A dump truck filled with snow discharges its load at Stuart Park on Monday afternoon, as Dean Keast is careful not to be buried under the pile. The trucked-in snow will help ensure a festive atmosphere for tonight's New Year's Eve celebration.
First Night celebrations are so last century.
Where many communities once hosted family-oriented, outdoor New Year's Eve parties, almost nothing of sort is happening in the Okanagan this year.
Visitor centre and civic staff in Penticton, Osoyoos, Summerland, Peachland, West Kelowna, Lake Country and Vernon report there's no town-sponsored party tonight in any of those places.
So residents in those no-fun zones should head to Kelowna if they want to enjoy a free, family-friendly New Year's Eve, complete with fireworks.
"As far as I know, we're the event like this in the Okanagan," Renata Mills, executive director of Festivals Kelowna, said. "We saw that there was a bit of a gap, and I think there is a demand for a free, family-oriented celebration like this"
Dubbed New York New Year's, the event is centred around the outdoor skating rink at Stuart Park on Water Street, and features live bands, free glow sticks, kids' games and lots of festive lighting.
Since there was little snow around the park the past few days - and today's forecast doesn't call for much - organizers have given Mother Nature a helping hand by bringing in snow.
"We should have more than 10 times as much snow trucked in as we did last year," said Ryan Donn, a Festivals Kelowna employee. "It's great for the kids to play in and build snowmen out of."
The first load arrived Monday afternoon, delivered by Dean Keast of Redline Bobcat Services.
"Last year, the snow that was brought in was kind of dirty, but this is all good, fresh, clean stuff," Keast said. "We had about four inches of snow last night up at our place on Black Mountain."
Despite the dump at higher elevations, this December has seen significantly less snowfall than usual throughout the valley bottom in the Okanagan.
Kelowna has received 18 centimetres, compared to the 31 cm that normally falls through December.
Tonight should be fairly mild, with lows around minus 2 C. "We're looking for a bit of snow on Thursday," Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said.
Fireworks at tonight's celebration will be set off at 9 p.m., rather than the traditional midnight. The pyrotechnics are timed to match fireworks in New York - hence the local event's name - and the early end allows families with young children the chance to get home early.