Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge – August 13

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I have always enjoyed telling tourists where to go and how to get there – especially when it comes to them having fun and spending money.Please hand this to your visiting relatives or out of town friends when they ask what to do in our town.Dear Tourist,Welcome to Kelowna, located in the heart of the magical Okanagan Valley. As the pampered residents of this haven we are totally blessed in our lifestyle – yet still find the capacity to be a tad odd.Here are a few local quirks you should be aware of, followed with a list of my favourite places to go, see, do, or eat.First off – Kelowna folks are a finicky bunch at the best of times. (Finicky is my polite term for ‘spoiled, pompous, self-absorbed’…)‘Kelownians’ are never fully satisfied – no matter the situation.Our biggest complaints are about the weather and tourists. (Local definition TouristA resident of Kelowna for less than 15 years.Weather wise we bitch when it is too hot.We bitch when it’s too cold.Too wet, too windy, too stuffy… However we usually end most complaints with a shrug of the shoulders and a comments such as, “Oh well, at least it beats living in Toronto.”Tourist wise we complain when there are not enough visitors, and then complain even louder when you finally arrive.We have a useless HOV lane system running through Kelowna on Highway 97. (Don’t blame us, it was the provincial government’s idea). Locals totally ignore the HOV – however we fully expect tourists to obey it. We will honk and show you various body parts as we roar by if you do not do as you are expected.Watch out for folks driving really big red trucks, there are lots of them here.If you are lost or simply have a tourist-related question DO NOT ask someone at the public beach, or the table next to you in most of the major chain restaurants. They are likely tourists. (Locals hide in their yards, quiet beaches or pools, secret pubs, and favourite dining spots from July 1 to Sept 15).Here are a smattering of additional thoughts and tips for travellers here.The best thing about Kelowna is probably taking a casual stroll along the waterfront from City Park near the bridge to the Grand Hotel, or walking or cycling ‘The Greenway’.There are also a number of enjoyable tours and art walks in the downtown as suggested in guides found at various locations in town.I suggest you reserve the longer walks or cycles for mornings or afternoons as the heat of the day can be hard on you, family members, or pets. All of that wrapped in oodles of various size parks and beaches. Downtown and the Art’s district are stuffed full of interesting and unique dining and shopping areas so… take a walk.Here is a chaotic list of some of my personal favouritesBest combination view/food Kelowna – Earls on Top, Cactus Club on Water, Quails Gate, Pyramid Winery.Best combination view/food rural –  Ancient Hills WineryBest Kelowna restaurant for dinner: 1. Minstrel Cafe2. Memphis House of Blues3. Montana’s4. Kelly O’Bryan’sBest kept secret (funky place to eat)  – Central  (Central Kitchen and Bar – CPH)Best Waterfront Pub/Food – The Eldorado, Rosie’s, Cactus Club on WaterBest Regional Waterfront Food – Gasthaus on the Lake (Peachland)- Blue Rooster (Peachland)Best Kelowna lunch:  Grateful FedBest Breakfast – Perkins, IHOP, ABC, Cafe SoleilBest Chinese Food – Yum Yum Tree at Capri CentreBest Soup – Grateful FedBest Italian – Momma RosaBest pizza/Greek – Olympia Greek Taverna in Rutland.Best Kelowna pub (small): McCullough Station, Rosie’sBest Kelowna pub (large): BNABest regional pub: Turtle Bay Marina – Lake CountryBest sports pub: 1: Sturgeon Hall2: Baxter’s Pub3. Dakota’sFriendliest restaurant staff –Grateful Fed, ABC, Perkins, Yum Yum.Friendliest sales staff Kelowna: Extra Foods – Capri MallBest Bakery – NestersBest Butcher – Johnny’s Meats, Nesters.Best Book Store – Robbie’s Rare Books, Mosaic BooksBest Music Store:  Wentworth MusicBest Clothing Store: 1. Moore’s (Spall Mall)2. Robertson’s Clothing – south PandosyBest live Music – Minstrel Cafe, Grateful Fed. Blue Gator,  O’FlannigansBest rural live music – Blue Rooster (Peachland)Best Concert Facility – Kelowna Community TheatreBest Jam night – Anything hosted by Jim LeGuillouxBest Free Outdoor Concerts – Music in the Park concerts at Island Stage in Waterfront Park or Kerry Park – listing on City web site.Best walk/dog walk: Mission Creek GreenwayBest Place to people watch – Rosie’s Waterfront Pub, The Sails. Cactus Club.Intersections to avoid: Highway 97 and Spall, 97 and Gordon.Favourite Hideaway: Maud Roxby bird sanctuary, Kelly O’Bryan’s Patio, my back yard.

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And here is a should not miss fun event for anyone, local or tourist. If you like Motown music then you will simply love singer Rann Berry’s highly entertaining Motown Review night of fun and fine tunes.Berry is a very gifted and popular Kelowna singer with a vast and varied musical background in B.C.Rann has put together an impressive Vegas-style showcase featuring a full 10-piece band (complete with a horn section) focussing on the biggest hits of the Motown genre including famous songs by such artists asI have had the pleasure of seeing this show in the past and look forward to the next one set for the Kelowna Community Theatre on Saturday, August 22.Opening the show for Rann will be the always witty and humorous comedian Rob Balsdon.Tickets are available at selectyourtickets.com or by phoning 250-762-5050.Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:30.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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