It’s the big annual summer party that everyone in the community is invited to.
This year’s Party in the Park kicks off this Friday at Central Community Park in downtown Chilliwack, and it will be just as packed full of music, entertainment, food, shopping, and activities as ever before.
“We go live at five every evening,” says organizer Trevor McDonald. “We want to kick it off with a boom on July 7 and keep the ball rolling steady until we have the finale on the 28th.”
Party in the Park runs every Friday in July, from 5 to 9:50 p.m.
Every evening starts off with entertainment by a different dance studio from the Fraser Valley. The dance performances for Party in the Park are organized by Sarah Sturrus-Wood, owner of Chilliwack’s Capella Dance Academy.
Following the dancing, the lineup of music begins on the Chances Community Stage. July 7 includes Lakeisha Hewitt, Dances with Lightning, The Maybelles, Joyride, Steve Elvis Elliott with Lounge Hounds, and Damian Marshall Band. Genres of music include country, rock, soul/R&B, swing, pop rock, and classic rock.
“It’s a great mix of music” for the first night, says McDonald.
Opening ceremonies for this year’s Party in the Park will be at 7 p.m. on July 7 where Gary Abbott from Dances with Lightning will be doing a welcome ceremony with traditional First Nations dancing and drumming.
On July 14 it’s Brook Potter, Gerald Charlie and the Black Owl Blues, One Nite Stand, Soundscape, and Lost & Loaded. July 21: Nelson Padilla, The Johnsons, KO’s, Floe Pham, and Awake O Sleeper. July 28: Erik & Brittany, Sound Faith, Maggpie, Horsepower, plus a special Canada 150 finale act TBA.
“We have an incredible mix of bands this year,” he says. “There are 11 new bands who’ve never played Party in the Park before. It’s such an eclectic mix of performers — everything from country to rock to world music to pop — we have it all this year. It covers every demographic.”
“It really adds to the family event that Party in the Park is. The music is never too intrusive.”
Also, the entire musical entertainment lineup is from Chilliwack.
“Look no further than your own backyard for great talent,” says McDonald.
In addition to all of the music, there will be tons of activities for the kids including the O’Connor Family Fun Zone, located on the grass area of Central Community Park, where there will be face painting, gardening, crafting, bouncy castles, mini golf, road hockey and more.
Mill Street will be home to about 15 different food trucks offering a nice mix of both sweet and savoury eats. The Save-On-Foods pop-up market will be set up along Wellington Avenue, and at the end of the street by Five Corners will be the buskers’ stage, a licensed extended patio outside Triple Play Pub. Acoustic performers will be performing there from 6-9 p.m.
The show goes until 9:50 p.m. every night. Party in the Park runs every Friday in July — it’s the second year for this format.
“It’s much better for the flow of the whole event because it creates a rhythm. It’s a snowball effect so that we can build up to the last one,” says McDonald. “Any stops in the middle, you have to start over again. You have to start the restart the advertising momentum.”
Party in the Park used to run every Friday in July and August. Eight weeks was a lot of work, so it was cut back to every second week, but that didn’t seem to be the best solution either. Last year, organizers decided to run the event every Friday in July and soon realized how successful it was.
“Party in the Park does promote downtown business. The aim of this whole thing is to bring people downtown and see what a great downtown core we have.”
He says for the downtown business owners, it’s not about the one Friday, but the 51 Fridays after that. It’s about getting customers to return to downtown Chilliwack once Party in the Park is over. Many of the downtown businesses have agreed to remain open late on Party in the Park nights.
On a slow night, 5,000 people come out to Party in the Park. On a good night, you’ll see 11,000.
“You can’t walk a straight line down Wellington Avenue on a Friday night,” during Party in the Park, says McDonald. “It’s amazing.”
Local security and RCMP will be in attendance to ensure a family friendly and safe environment. Road closures are at 4 p.m. on Wellington Avenue, Mill Street, and Victoria Avenue.
People are reminded to bring their lawn chairs. And musicians aged 19+ interested in performing on the buskers’ stage can email email@example.com.
Party in the Park runs July 7, 14, 21 and 28 in downtown Chilliwack at Central Community Park and the surrounding area. Entertainment begins at 5 p.m. and goes until 9:50 p.m. For more, go to downtownchilliwack.com/party-in-the-park.