Organizers of the Vernon Winter Carnival are feeling better prepared to throw the city’s biggest party of the year in the midst of a pandemic.
The 62nd annual event begins Feb. 4, just under two weeks from now, with tickets selling fast for events and activities throughout the Greater Vernon area.
The Winter Carnival Society has been working to adapt and pivot according to changing COVID-19 restrictions on events and gatherings.
“Organizing events for this year’s carnival has not been without its challenges,” said Vicki Proulx, executive director. “The introduction of new restrictions in December brought a lot of uncertainty. However, we have learned that it is important to be able to adapt and change with the restrictions in order to bring this much-beloved event to our community in a safe and healthy way for everyone to enjoy.”
Some events that were originally hoped for have been cancelled due to pandemic-related concerns, including the extension of PHO restrictions announced earlier this week. The Parka Party at Predator Ridge and Behind the Scenes at O’Keefe Ranch are among the events cancelled
However, many of the events will still move forward. Like the Downtown Vernon Association’s Gold Rush and Chilli Cook Off, the parade, server olympics and more.
“Vernon Winter Carnival learned a lot from last year’s adapted festival,” said Erik Olesen, chair of the Carnival Society. “We took our experience from 2021 and planned mainly outdoor events for 2022, which can continue under the current PHO orders.”
Outdoor events such as the winter playground at the DND grounds will take place every day from Feb. 4-13. The playground will feature an ice palace, family-friendly winter activities and entertainment.
The festival will also include the return of the Vernon Winter Carnival Parade on Feb. 5, snow sculptures at Silver Star Mountain, the polar swim and many more outdoor events.
Third-party events will also go forward, including virtual events with Planet Bee and the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, indoor and outdoor events at O’Keefe Ranch, chocolate classes with Cotton’s Chocolates and an outdoor scavenger hunt with the Downtown Vernon Association.
“Vernon Winter Carnival 2022 may not be back to normal just yet, but we’re excited to provide fun and safe events this February in whatever way we can,” said Proulx. “This festival has always been about bringing people together and keeping us connected through shared experiences. Our community needs these connections more now than ever.”
Visit vernonwintercarnival.com for ticket purchases and event details.