The inside of the Rotary Centre for the Arts in downtown Kelowna is being decorated with Christmas lights, with the switch to be flipped at 4 p.m. on Thursday. People are invited to take in the 'drive-by light-up' and bring a donation for the food bank.

A first-time drive-by Christmas light-up should create quite a holiday spectacle this Thursday at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in downtown Kelowna.


The inside of the airy two-storey building will be decorated with lights provided by Peak Technologies, a Vancouver-based event supply firm.


Due to COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, there isn't the same demand for the lights from party and event hosts that there was in past years.


"Because of the pandemic, there's a surplus of these lights this Christmas season," RCA executive director Colleen Fitzpatrick said in an interview on Monday.


The lights, to be placed all around the RCA atrium this week, will be flicked on at 4 p.m. on Thursday. "Because we've got so many windows in the building, we think it'll be quite noticeable from the outside," Fitzpatrick said.


It's the first time the RCA has organized a Christmas light-up, drive-by or otherwise, she said.


The event is being promoted in support of the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank, and people who take in the display - either by driving by or admiring the twinkling lights as a pedestrian - are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation.


Volunteers from the RCA and the food bank will be accepting the donations between 3:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Thursday.


"Nearly 5,000 Kelowna and West Kelowna residents access services provided by the food bank every month," food bank community development co-ordinator Sarah Martin said in a release.


"In recent week, client registration has risen sharply, and client usage has increased by almost 27%," Martin said.


"Our most vulnerable community members, including children and seniors, are experiencing a heightened risk of food insecurity during this uncertain and challenging season," she said.