Westside Daze

Leah Thordarson, who has been president of the society that puts on Westside Daze for 10 years, passes a binder of information over to Mike Schell, who became the society’s new president following the annual general meeting last week.

Westside Daze will have a new leader at next summer’s event.

After 10 years as president and administrator of the Westside Celebration Society, Leah Thordarson passed the reins to Mike Schell after the society’s annual general meeting.

Thordarson said she has been looking for a new president for about five years, adding Westside Daze needs new people to bring fresh ideas.

Schell, who has been the entertainment director for Westside Daze for the past eight years, is committed to keeping the Westside Daze a free family fun event and will work with Thordarson as she remains on the board as administrator.

“Leah’s done so much for us and she’s like the rock star of Westside Daze,” said Schell. “We couldn’t do this without her.”

 After the society cancelled the 2020 festival and ran a virtual event in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Schell said it’s full steam ahead for Westside Daze 2022.

“We are going to have the best party ever,” he said.  

Because of the construction of West Kelowna City Hall, Memorial Park will not be available for the event.

Celebrate Canada Day and Westside Daze will take place at Kinsmen Park on Shannon Lake Road where West Kelowna held Music in the Park last summer.

Canada Day celebrations will go July 1 with a car show and battle of the bands planned during the day, with entertainment in the evening. Canada Day is on a Friday.

Westside Daze is set for July 8-10.

For the first time since 2015, rides will be back as Shooting Star Amusements will bring a midway.

Free family fun has been the mandate for Westside Daze for over 50 years, and Schell will be focusing on getting young families with little kids out to the event.

“We want to get some new people out,” Schell said. “We can’t grow and get bigger without more community involvement.”

The 2022 Westside Daze will see the traditional events including live entertainment, parade, kids’ fair, fireworks and First Nations Day, which will be the jumping point for whatever anybody else wants to bring into the mix.

“People can expect all their favorites back again, and maybe some surprises,” Thordarson said.

Putting on Westside Daze is a major undertaking, with Thordarson estimating the festival cost at $275,000 with cash, in-kind donations and volunteer time.

She said the festival gives people a reason to be proud of West Kelowna, where everybody can bring their friends and family to enjoy the free family festival and not worry they are been nickeled and dimed to death.

Schell hopes to have the West Kelowna Warriors junior hockey team and West Kelowna Youth Ambassadors involved.