Kelowna's new tourist rules

Originally written for eVent! magazine [ep] on 05/04/06.

Spring has sprung, the sun is out and summer is knocking on the door.  I know this is old hat but we’re going to have to go through a few things again before the tourists show up, just so we’re all on the same page here and there’s no repeat of the incident with the tourists from Utah near the Kerry Park sails in 1995. 

First off let’s get this straight; we have to pretend that the bridge traffic is worse during the summer than it is the rest of the year.  If people realized we actually deal with that floating bottleneck of death year round, nobody is going to want to move here and you know what that is going to do to the price of real estate?  I assure you nothing good could come of it, and since we’re largely an economy based on real estate and mythical lake monsters we cannot afford to lose real estate as an industry.

Next remember for a few months we all have to pretend we shop downtown.  That’s right, people come to Kelowna for the small town appeal, and though we’ve long ago left downtown to the hobos and now only shop in stores in sealed air-conditioned environments with mood music.  However we want to compete with actual small towns, you know the kind where the mayor knows everyone’s name, and everyone knows the mayor’s name, and the large nosed fire chief insults his own over sized schnozzola to outwit a local wiseguy.  So in order to give that impression we’ll all have to rediscover downtown, and pretend we never lost it.  Truth is we might find that we like it; I mean there are good stores down there.

Now this year we want to be a bit more careful about our guests who are staying with us in our homes.  First off this is frowned upon, since really guests who stay in our homes are fully taking advantage of our lovely hotels, and thus are not contributing to the economy as much as we’d like.  However let’s be honest until City Ordinance 2348N passes it’s not illegal to let people stay in our homes, so sadly it’s going to happen.  However if any of your guests are vampires let’s make sure they follow the rules and only eat the out of province fruit pickers.  That’s what they’re there for folks, we cannot have them eating the tourists, or even worse locals.  Make sure all of your guests understand this; I don’t want to have to tell you again.

Now it’s not all rules and me laying down the law, there’s a bright spot.  That’s right I’m happy to announce the winner of our annual lottery to see who gets to be the one to run out of the lake and onto the beach at City Park and shout that they’ve seen Ogopogo.  Now remember you have to sell this, not that the Ogopogo exists because quite clearly it does not, but that you believe that it exists so that the tourists will believe that we believe because it’s our belief in the mythic lake beast that keeps them so very amused.

Drum roll please… this year’s winner is James Feldes.  Okay Mr. Feldes, I hope you’re up for the job.

Lastly, and trust me I know this is a bummer, but we all have to return to saying, “Mike said it would be like this.” The idea that a town like Kelowna has it’s own local celebrities is amusing to out of town visitors from cities with real celebrities.  We might not have Ben Affleck in town shooting movies every few months, but we can pretend that Mike Roberts is every bit the heartthrob.  Though let’s not say things like, “I don’t know why Jennifer Garner is going out with that Affleck fellow when Mike Roberts is such a sexy stud.”  I think we may have overplayed it a little last year, and we don’t want to seem demented.

All right I think that’s enough for now.  Remember game day is coming up so from this point forward we’ll start having to use code. 

Oh I almost forgot, let’s remember that just because someone is wearing a shirt that says they’re a bikini inspector it does not mean that they actually are officially deputized by the city to inspect bikinis.  Apparently there some people, both tourists and locals, have been making fraudulent Bikini Inspector shirts and wearing them around.  Please ladies if someone approaches you and claims to be one, make sure you check their paper work authorizing them to perform that civic duty.