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Grape stomp made famous by Rick Mercer returning to South Okanagan

Image Credit: Shutterstock

An entertaining event where people turn grapes into juice with their feet will return after a two-year hiatus this September following pandemic cancellations.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Festival of the Grape, as part of the Oliver Fall Festival that runs in the community from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. The fall festival typically attracts around 5,000 people mainly from the Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Alberta and organizers expect to see a record year this year as pandemic restrictions have eased.

Video Credit: Mercer Report
Rick at the Festival of the Grape'

“This is a more key event in the South Okanagan so it’s bringing a lot of volunteers back together, it’s bringing a lot of the community and businesses back together, it definitely has a huge impact,” said Ian Lobb, executive director with the Oliver Tourism Association.

Special events this year include a performance from Canadian musicians The Trews as part of a kick-off party at The District Wine Village, Sept. 30. Tickets for the performance are selling out fast.

Cast and Keg is returning as a full-day event with numerous local artists and this year a special Beer Olympics will take place as a feature event during the day. An Oliver Amazing Race will be held that same day but it has no affiliation with the TV show, he said.

On Sunday, the traditional grape stomp, made famous by Canadian icon Rick Mercer in 2017, is also returning as part of the Festival of the Grape, Lobb said.

“It really sort of ties in the traditions of grape and wine production and it’s a great spectator event,” Lobb said. Registration is still open for teams and costumes are encouraged.

More information on the fall festival’s events can be found on the Oliver Tourism Association’s website.

- This story was corrected July 22, 2022 at 4:02 p.m. to reflect the fall festival's proper dates, which were incorrect.

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