A hub for people to come and learn everything from how to play the ukulele to canoeing for beginners in Peachland could mean bringing businesses to the town year-round as the folk school of Okanagan kicked off an open house on Sunday where people could meet instructors and watch demonstrations.
The idea for the folk school originated at a dinner party 14 months ago, said Murray Wood, founder and president of the folk school.
As a businessman, Wood had been puzzled for years about how to bring business to Peachland during the off-season.
His neighbors came to
dinner and describes the North House Folk School in Minnesota, located in a town similar to Peachland.
“The city received a slow transfusion,” Wood said. “Shops opened and stayed open, restaurants stayed open year-round, gas pumped out, and bed and breakfasts were full.”
Wood approached the Peachland Chamber of Commerce and friends, who embraced the idea.
In addition to bringing business to Peachland during the off-season, the role of the popular school will be to bring more work to craftsmen and instructors throughout the valley, to create a community for those taking the classes as well as for Peachland and to become the crafts and skills education center of Western Canada.
Peachland is a strong tourist spot, Wood noted.
“Someone could take a basket weaving class while their partner is golfing or going on the lake,” he said. “There is so much to do.”
The Okanagan Folk School currently has 10 instructors offering lessons in painting, geocaching, hiking, knitting, jewelry making and storytelling.
Some of the classes are single events while others are multiple classes.
Classes will be held on Peachland Chamber of Commerce facilities, artist studios and outdoors.
Annabelle Stanley, a natural fiber artist, is one of the instructors as well as a board member. She will give lessons on how to make spheres, quails and baskets in her workshop.
As an artist, it is important for Stanley to promote and support the folk school, as it in turn promotes the artists inside and outside the community as a center of learning.
For a complete list of available courses and registration, go online to okfolkschool.ca