The Vernon Winter Carnival battled through adversity after adversity to provide safe community events amid a pandemic, and now that the ice sculptures have been shuttled from Polson Park, it’s time to announce some winners of this year’s festivities.
The Downtown Vernon Association took part in some COVID-friendly activities as part of the 61st annual Carnival.
Starting with everyone’s favourite culinary Carnival tradition, the 12th annual Chili Cook-off adapted to the pandemic by adding this year’s chili entries to the menus of participating restaurants. Guests were able to sit and enjoy a bowl or sample cup and vote on their favourite, all while supporting a local restaurant.
This year’s judge’s choice chili was from Ratio, while the People’s Choice and Spirit Award (Carnival theme) went to Station BBQ.
Venue owners said the new cook-off method “seemed to really work,” according to Shanna Rowney, chair of the DVA board of directors.
“So many of us are searching for ways to safely participate in our community right now. It has been truly wonderful to see people out — or virtually — experiencing the activities over these past few days,” said Rowney, who highlighted many of this year’s events.
“An at-home snow sculpture contest, a drive-thru ice park, virtual whisky tasting, a chili cook-off contest, a virtual talent content, a scavenger hunt with actual gold as a prize and so much more.”
The newest event, which also kept people in their own bubbles, was the Gold Rush Scavenger Hunt, which saw locals purchase clue packages from the Winter Carnival before setting out to answer 12 downtown-area brain teasers. The winner received a real gold nugget for their efforts, as well as other gifts from 25 sponsors.
Proceeds from the hunt went to the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society.