February 12, 2014 - 12:01 PM
VERNON - The North Okanagan is becoming famous for hosting celebrities.
Just months after film crews departed Sparkling Hills for the filming of Mothers Day Off, a number of personalities are due at the resort this September for the Celebrity Sports Invitational. Actors George Clooney and Hugh Laurie were recently in Enderby filming a Disney flick called Tomorrowland.
The City of Vernon let the cat out of the bag at a council meeting Tuesday when they agreed to put $50,000 from the Hotel Room Tax towards the event. The City of Kelowna has been asked to pledge the same amount.
Tourism services manager for the City of Vernon Michelle Jefferson says it’s the first time the event has been held in Canada during the summertime. Banff and Lake Louise have hosted the event in the winter, and Jamaica in the summer. But when Right Mind Media’s Holly Wood—who has organized previous invitationals—moved to Vernon, she pushed to have it here.
“We’re very fortunate Holly decided yup, this is where it needs to be,” Jefferson says.
The event is expected to bring 15-25 celebrities to Vernon, where they will be filmed playing golf at Predator Ridge and participating in other recreational activities.
“In the past—and we can’t necessarily say who’s coming this year—but in the past people like Alec Baldwin, Glenn Close and Robin Williams have attended,” Jefferson says.
Robert Kennedy Jr. is a regular at the event, as he’s involved with the Waterkeepers Alliance, the invitational’s fundraising organization of choice.
“There could be an opportunity for a local water alliance to get involved,” Jefferson says.
The invitational airs on Fox TV and last year brought the event into 98 per cent of American homes. Entertainment Tonight Canada is also expected to cover the four day affair.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Okanagan to be very highly profiled in at least a minimum of 80 per cent of homes in America,” Jefferson says.
There will be opportunities for locals to enjoy the event as well, Jefferson says.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
—This story was edited at 1:45 p.m. to correct the spelling of Robin Williams' name and again at 2 p.m. to say the council meeting was held Tuesday, not Monday.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014