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VIDEO: It's time to meet on Bernard

Kelowna's main street is shifting into summer mode with a transformation that has been going on for five years now.

The promise is fun, festivities, entertainment and dining.

The 200 Block of Bernard is now a pedestrian-only zone.

The whole endeavour has come to be known as 'Meet Me on Bernard'.

The closures are designed to create a vibrant hub of activity with patios that extend into the street, games, concerts and more.

"The patios are open as of the long weekend," explained the Downtown Kelowna Association's Mark Burley.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

The timing is aimed at catering to the crowds expected for the long weekend.

"That's the great thing about these ks of efforts is it brings people downtown and gets them moving around instead of just once specific space."

In its next phase, the pedestrian-only corridor will be extended to include the 300 Block.

Beyond that, restaurants will be permitted to extend their patios right into the parking pads that are in front of their businesses.

Once again, the pedestrian-only zone which had once extended to the 400 and 500 blocks of Bernard will be concentrated on the two blocks closer to the waterfront.

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who>

"Anything like this, it evolves over time," said Burley. "We're hoping every time we add something new it makes it even better."

This year the Downtown Kelowna Association is introducing Thursday Night Markets which will run from Water Street to Kerry Park from 4 to 9 pm.

The markets will offer a variety of local goods, crafts and foods.

Burley said parking is not a problem.

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who>

"Absolutely not," he said. "We have three parkades downtown."

And compared to many cities, Kelowna's parkades are a bargain.

"You can park after 5 pm for free," Burley said. "And you can park all weekend in a parade for free."

Last year, Meet Me on Bernard was going quite well until the devastating McDougall Creek wildfire came along.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia <who> Kent Molgat and Mark Burley

"It started rolling towards the end of July and the August long weekend," said Burley.

"And then bam! It hit us and the government and the government said don't come to Kelowna and nobody did."

Other special events associated with this year's Meet Me On Bernard include the Block Party on July 20 and the Show n Shine on Aug 17.

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