This year’s JulyFest can only be called ‘the best of the best of the fests’ says Kimberley Chamber President Darren Close after a hugely successful weekend.
And the Kimberley RCMP agree, with Cpl. Chris Newel reporting that the crowds were well behaved and everyone had a great time.
“We had a great weekend,” Close said. “All the musicians did a great job — special thanks to Ray’s Music for the audio and keeping the show going Saturday night after a sensational 54-40 performance. Michelle ‘Blondie’ Nex did an amazing job keeping the bocce pits running smoothly.
“J-fest coordinator, Dave ‘Clarkey’ Clarke and Chamber GM Mike Guarnary worked tirelessly throughout the weekend to pull together this hugely successful event. We at the Chamber want to express our utmost appreciation to all the volunteers and the participants as well. Everyone made this weekend happen.”
Guarnary and Clarke are exhausted but extremely pleased with the weekend.
“It went very, very well,” Guarnary said. “We are getting really positive feedback.”
Clarke says the Saturday night 54-40 show was excellent.
“It’s amazing how many of their songs you didn’t know you know,” Clarke said. “Everyone knew all the songs. It was terrific.”
This was Clarke’s first time coordinating the Fest. Lessons learned?
“Better shoes,” he said. “I have more blisters on my feet.”
Clarke says he really wants to shout out to all the volunteers. “They did an unbelievable job, and made it work for everybody.”
Newel says that from a policing standpoint, JulyFest is the biggest event of the year.
“From a policing perspective Julyfest is the biggest. We have a huge number of people congregating in a small area with a good supply of alcohol.”
It’s normally a recipe for trouble, he says, but not this year.
“This year over the three days police dealt with very few issues and there were no major problems. Participants were well-behaved for the most part and a large number of them thanked us. Everybody seemed to be having fun and even those that had alcohol dumped out and received violation tickets took it in good stride.
“Only a handful of subjects were arrested for being too intoxicated. They were released after a few hours of sobering up. Noise complaints peaked on Sunday morning after the event finished. It seemed a number of people were having such a good time they wanted to carry on. Unfortunately their neighbours were not invited so they decided to invite the police. Again, everybody was good about it and hopefully everybody was able to sleep.”
East Kootenay Traffic Services helped out with road checks and Newel says they were busy.
“Several impaired drivers were taken off the road. A large number of people were seen walking home, others waiting patiently for a taxi, but at least four decided to drive that shouldn’t have. They are now prohibited from driving for a period of 90 days. Costly endeavour.”
While Newel says that some people might think there were more police than required, it’s best to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
“The officers prepare well in advance, working with event organizers to ensure adequate coverage at the venues. Every officer is on the schedule and a number of officers are brought in from other detachments to help out. Traffic services sent a contingent of officers to conduct traffic enforcement. Officers are scheduled throughout the day and night with the peak number working the night shifts.”