Balloon meister David Gleen gives instructions at the hot air balloon training day Saturday at Sawicki Park. Hot air balloons will take to the sky during the opening weekend of Vernon Winter Carnival.

Balloon meister David Gleen gives instructions at the hot air balloon training day Saturday at Sawicki Park. Hot air balloons will take to the sky during the opening weekend of Vernon Winter Carnival.

Patriotic Vernon Winter Carnival ready to soar

The 57th annual Vernon Winter Carnival kicks off this week with the theme Carnival Celebrates Canada’s 150th.

Expect to see plenty of red and white around Greater Vernon over the next two weeks.

The 57th annual Vernon Winter Carnival kicks off this week, and the theme is ‘Carnival Celebrates Canada’s 150th,’ with Carnival goers and premises expected to be decked out in the country’s official colours.

“We know people have frantically been trying to find Canada stuff,” said Carnival chairperson Deb White.

Carnival will officially commence Thursday with the Proclamation and Coronation of Queen Silver Star LVII, as reigning Queen Madison Catt and Princess Silver Star Sneha Suniara hand over their crowns. Ten candidates are competing.

Proclamation takes place at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Thursday. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m.

The 25th annual North Okanagan Hot Air Balloon Festival will begin with the annual Balloon Glow Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Polson Park.

The always popular Vernon Winter Carnival parade runs Saturday at noon along its traditional route: starting at MacDonald Park and heading south on 27th Street, then east down 30th Avenue and north along 31st Street to the Vernon Civic Arena.

“We will have a lot more band entries and animal entries in the parade,” said White. “Last year, we had 89 total entries in the parade. This year, we are at more than 120.”

The Carnival committee held its final pre-event board meeting Tuesday. Going into it, sold-out events includes Suds N’ Cider and the first Sweetheart Grandparent and Grandchild Dance. Mainstay events like Irish Pub Night and dinner theatre at the Schubert Centre have also sold well.

Any tickets left for any event can be purchased at the Vernon Winter Carnival office, 3401-35th Avenue.

You can also purchase raffle tickets at the office for $2 to win one of five big prizes.

First prize is a seven-night Twin Anchors Houseboat vacation; second prize is a $1,000 shopping spree in downtown Vernon; third prize is a $500 Village Green Centre shopping spree; fourth prize is two weekend passes to the annual Roots and Blues music festival in Salmon Arm in August; and fifth prize is a Vernon Vipers package valued at $325.

The draw for the prizes will be made Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. at Village Green Centre.

More information on the 57th annual Vernon Winter Carnival can be found in the Carnival brochures, or at www.vernonwintercarnival.com.