61st Vernon Winter Carnival gets ready to launch | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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61st Vernon Winter Carnival gets ready to launch

Vernon Winter Carnival 2020.
Image Credit: INSTAGRAM:miss604
February 03, 2021 - 6:00 AM

The 61st annual Vernon Winter Carnival is gearing up to start and is sure to be an event like no other before.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has kiboshed the parade and put many other carnival staples out of commission, there is still plenty to do at this year's wild west themed event.

The festival begins Feb. 5 and this year's highlight is the drive-thru Vernon Winter Carnival Ice Park. Carnival organizers have transformed Polson Park into a wild west winter playground, featuring multiple ice sculptures and wild west displays. Family bubbles will be able to stay in the safety of their vehicles and watch as they drive by. The event is ticket only and runs four times a day throughout the carnival. Tickets cost $10 per vehicle.

Due to the Ice Park event, Polson Park will be temporarily closed to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the carnival. 

The pandemic has caused many of the events to go virtual, but there is still plenty that involves going outside.

The Snow at Home event encourages residents to use their imagination and build their own snow sculpture in their yard. Participants then post a picture of their creation on social media in the hopes of winning a prize.

The Downtown Vernon Association is hosting a Gold Rush scavenger hunt. Participants will scour downtown Vernon looking for the answers to complete the scavenger hunt and be in a draw to win numerous prizes.

The Vernon Snowmobile Association is holding a Scavenger Hunt, where participants can head outdoors anytime during the festival.

The very popular Chili Cook-Off is still taking place, albeit with a rather different formula. Instead of wandering from restaurant to restaurant on Saturday afternoon, foodies can head to participating restaurants anytime during Vernon Winter Carnival and buy their signature chilli before then voting for their favourite. While the list of participating restaurants is smaller than previous years, the Marten Brewing Co, The Kal, Station BBQ Smokehouse and Ratio cafe are still all taking part.

For those looking for something a bit boozier, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery is holding a Virtual Outlaw Whisky Experience. The event will allow people to explore the elements of craft whisky making in B.C. from the comfort of their own home. But they won't be left dry, participants pick up tasting kits from Okanagan Spirits Distillery prior to the event so they can sip a dram or two while watching online. The event costs $60 and takes place Feb. 5. Similar in-person events take place Feb. 6 and 7.

In keeping with the isolation caused by the pandemic, the popular Arrest the Best event doesn't have to be shelved this year. Nominate a friend, colleague, or your boss or enemy to be arrested and then set the bail. They then get arrested and put in a cell on their own. It’s then up to them to collect donations in order to get free. The event runs from Feb. 8 to 12.

The doors at theatres may have been shut for a while, but that hasn't stopped the Winter Carnival from putting on a play. Our Home Town is a local take on the well-known American play Our Town. This tribute to that play featuring many of the famous names and faces from the area. The play will be performed live and broadcast over Zoom. Tickets cost $25 and it takes place Feb. 12.

Along with these events, there's a virtual Superhero Party for kids and a Carnival of Chocolate, plus many many more.

The 61st Vernon Winter Carnival takes place between Feb. 5 and 14. For a full list of events and to buy tickets go here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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