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Caped crusaders launch Winter Carnival
Capes are in fashion among Vernon Winter Carnival directors.
Decked out in capes (including Carnival Cop Ron Morgan), masks and headbands, the Vernon Winter Carnival executive officially launched the countdown to the 54th annual carnival, Feb. 7 to 16, with its theme of Carnival of Superheroes.
“It looks like it’s going to be the best carnival we’ve ever had,” said carnival chairperson Calvin Hoy at a media launch and reception Wednesday evening at the Fairfield Inn and Suites.
“We continue to have more events, and continue to have better participation by the community and the business community.”
Serving as emcee, Hoy introduced the 100-plus sponsors and close to 60 events that will be included in the Vernon Winter Carnival.
Representing the city, Mayor Rob Sawatsky told the crowd the Sochi Olympics in Russia – which begin on the same day as Winter Carnival – are trying to compete with carnival.
“We all know what a great festival it is for our winter and our community,” said Sawatzky. “Many of you here have been involved for many years, it’s such a great community event.”
Returning, popular events back for the 54th carnival include Irish Pub Night, hosted by Vernon band Cod Gone Wild on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Vernon Rec Centre (lead singer Andrew Mercer told the crowd there will be an opening act, yet to be named); Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will feature 15 balloons; and the 44th annual Coca Cola Classic Pee Wee Hockey tournament, Feb. 13-16, which will include eight teams from across Western Canada and Washington state.
“Our motto is ‘the stars of tomorrow are here today,’” said tournament chairperson Marty Stein, whose event has been named the carnival’s best youth sporting event the past two years.
“We’ve had 100 players from our tournament play at least one game in the NHL.”
The Medieval Madness Feast III returns to the All Saints Anglican Church Saturday, Feb. 15, starting at 5 p.m.
“We’ll be putting on several levels of combat, singing, dancing and a five-course meal,” said event spokesperson Craig Meyer.
Jopo House will run luncheons Feb. 12 to 14 at the Best Western Plus Vernon Lodge Hotel featuring Vernon hypnotist Troy Mitchell, who promises a clean, yet hilarious show.
“You’ll laugh so hard your stomach and jaw will hurt,” said Mitchell.
Among the new events is the first Winter Carnival Dodgeball tournament, set for Saturday, Feb. 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Priest Valley Gym.
The event will be organized and run by Vernon native Jamie Taverner, who has organized and run dodgeball leagues in Kelowna for the past eight years.
“Dodgeball is huge,” said Taverner. “Having been to the Winter Carnival before, I think it will be a great addition. We use foam balls, not the rubber bouncy balls, so a lot of people get hit in the head but take it in stride. It will be a good time.”
Also new is the Olympic Superhero Party Extravaganza, set for Thursday, Feb. 13, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the rec centre. The $25 ticket price includes the blockbuster movie The Avengers on a big blow-up screen.
For reigning Queen Silver Star Emily Pfannschmidt and Princess Antonya Crosby, who sang a song to the crowd about the City of Vernon, their time as Vernon royalty is drawing to a close.
Proclamation of the new queen and princess will take place Thursday, Feb. 6, at the Performing Arts Centre. This year, the new royalty will officially be crowned at proclamation.
Carnival executive director Diana Williamson said a Countdown to Carnival will happen Friday, Feb. 7, at 5 p.m. in Polson Park.
“It will be carnival’s official opening,” said Williamson. “We’ll have some guest speakers, O Canada, awards presentation and some music, then we want everybody to help us count down five-four-three-two-one and that’s when all the hot air balloons in the park will light up. We hope everyone can join us.”
Added Hoy: “Without the support of the people in this room and others, Winter Carnival would not exist. Winter Carnival creates part of the fabric of this community and it creates a community for all of us to live in and creates a better place for all of us to live in.”
Information on all of the events can be found in the carnival brochure, or online at www.vernonwintercarnival.com.