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Penticton, B.C. venues prepare for return of Christmas parties, events

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Penticton venues prepare for return of Christmas parties
WATCH: After a couple years of COVID-19 restrictions, this year is looking brighter for local venues. As our Taya Fast reports, bookings for corporate parties and private events are filling up fast. – Nov 29, 2022

This year is looking brighter for local venues as they prepare for their busiest holiday season since 2019.

Over the past couple of years, holiday festivities have been on pause due to the pandemic, but with all COVID-19 restrictions lifted in B.C., venues like Salty’s Beach House restaurant in Penticton are able to host large parties again.

“We’re absolutely seeing that this year and you know, a lot of inquiries about booking for the pearl here at Salty’s to be able to co-mingle with the people that you love and celebrate the holidays and enjoy each other’s company,” said Salty’s Beach House restaurant manager Emily Hart.

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With winter being Penticton’s off-season, Hart says the increase in bookings not only helps support the business but its staff, too.

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“We’re able to keep a lot more staff on during the winter seasons and so they’re able to get those hours and really enjoy this time as well,” said Hart.

Meanwhile, between the ballroom, banquet halls, and restaurants at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, bookings are filling up fast.

“The floodgates open and we’ve seen, you know, just a fantastic influx of people just looking to get out again,” said Penticton Lakeside Resort Assistant general manager Brannigan Mosses.

“We’ve had a wide range of group gatherings of up to five to a common one is 250 people, but all the way up to 500. Everybody’s just excited to get back out again and celebrate together.”

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Aside from corporate parties and private events, Penticton Lakeside Resort is also able to offer community events once again.

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Events include: Lunch with Santa, the Largest Small Office Party, and Christmas Day dinner and the resort’s ice rink is open for the season.

“There was a period of time there where we were unable to host anything, and we tried to get creative,” said Mosses.

“We went from a very quiet, that eagerness, that anticipation of people really wanting to just have the face to face again, being able to connect in real-time and so it’s truly just night and day between the couple years past and what we’re seeing this year.”

The same is true for Barley Mill Brew Pub, whose marketing and events manager, Kori Iceton, says is expecting several groups throughout December.

“We’re excited that Christmas parties are finally back,” said Iceton.

“We have just over 30 Christmas parties, but this year, some smaller, some bigger. It’s just really nice to get the building filled with warmth once again”

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Iceton went on to say that anyone who would like to support local still can without booking a large event.

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“Gift cards are a great idea. If you’re not wanting to do something in-house it’s a nice way to support your local businesses as well as give a gift of cheer,” said Iceton.

And while Theo’s Restaurant has also seen an increase in bookings, they’re not quite back to pre-pandemic levels.

“We’re not quite where we were but I’m grateful for what we do have will be up from last year,” said Theo’s Restaurant owner Gregory Condon.

“I would say we’re at about 65 to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic Christmas party levels. We should have been sold out months in advance and we weren’t this year on popular Friday and Saturday, but we’ll get there little by little, we’ll get there.”

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Condon went on to say that Theo’s is “a part of the tradition” for many, and they are excited to fully open their doors again for the holiday season.

“This is a legacy restaurant — birthdays, special events, even wakes. People have made a lot of memories in our restaurant,” said Condon.

“Now serving three generations of customers. So, it means a lot to me, and very honoured to be able to be part of that for creating memories for people.”

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