The Diwali Festival runs Oct. 15-19 with a host of multicultural activities around Vernon, culminating with a multicultural showcase of diverse artists from different backgrounds, headlined by the popular Bollywood dance group from Vancouver, the Shiamak Dancers. (Submitted photo)

Festival features rich colours, tastes and talents of Diwali in Vernon

Second annual Diwali in Vernon goes Oct. 15-19

Five full days dedicated to Diwali are shaking up for Vernon.

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society proudly presents, through partnership with Diwali in B.C., the second annual Diwali in Vernon Festival! Running Tuesday, Oct. 15 through to Saturday, Oct. 19, the Festival will host a variety of multicultural activities around town, culminating in a Final Showcase Performance at the Performing Arts Centre on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

“The Festival welcomes everyone to participate in a multicultural gathering that aims to unite Vernon citizens, regardless of age, identity, and culture,” said Janelle Escott, the centre’s marketing and community engagement director.

Diwali in B.C. is an annual multicultural multi-disciplinary inclusive festival that aims to showcase artists from diverse backgrounds and different abilities to celebrate the festival of lights during the annual Indian New Year. It is a non-denomination, non-religious festival with an artistic focus on artists local to Vernon and B.C.

“Everyone is welcome to participate and celebrate the multi-cultural demographics of our artists and communities here in Vernon,” said Escott.

Kicking off the week, the Festival Launch will take place at the Okanagan Regional Library on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. The Festival Launch will feature pop-up performances from local dancers, as well as free chai and samosas. Prior to the launch, the Vernon Public Art Gallery will be launching its community rangoli.

“Be sure to stop by to take part in the interactive community rangoli, which will be open to the public all week during regular gallery hours.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, families can enjoy a free Lantern Making Workshop at the Vernon Community Arts Centre from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., and 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

“Drop in during these times to make a beautiful handmade lantern,” encourages Escott.

All ages are welcome and children must be accompanied by an adult. Lanterns can be taken home on the day of the workshop, or they can be left on display as part of the Centre Gallery’s Diwali in Vernon Festival exhibit running until Oct. 25. The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives will also be hosting a multicultural gathering and discussion at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m, the Performing Arts Centre Society presents Red Sky Performance’s Trace, the first show in the 2019/20 Spotlight Dance Series, as part of the Diwali in Vernon Festival.

“Red Sky Performance is at the forefront of contemporary Indigenous performance in Canada and their show, Trace is a highly kinetic dance that maps Anishinaabe sky and star stories and offers a glimpse into our origins as well as our future evolution,” said Escott. Tickets for Trace are available through the Ticket Seller Box office (call 250-542-7469 or go online at www.ticketseller.ca) and are $35 for adults, $32 for seniors, and $30 for students.

On Friday, Oct. 19, the Caetani Centre is offering a free Memoir Writing Workshop with Janelle Hardy from 2-4 p.m. All ages are welcome.

“Get your heart pumping with a Bolly X workout at Soul Studio at 5-6:30 p.m.” adds Escott. Pricing and information can be found online on the Soul Studio website (www.soulstudio.ca).

“Finish off the night at the Vernon Public Art Gallery’s Art After Dark event from 7-11 p.m., which includes art activities, light refreshments, and a raffle draw.” Tickets are available through the Vernon Public Art Gallery.

On the final day of the festival, Saturday, Oct. 19, the Okanagan Science Centre will be hosting One Sky, Many Stories planetarium show from 1-2 p.m., which will feature South Asian stories of Diwali and its significance. Regular entrance fees apply for this event. The Okanagan Science Centre will also be hosting Diwali Week with an afterschool activity for kids Oct. 15-19 at 3:30 p.m.

To end off the night, the Curry Pot will be hosting an Indian Buffet Dinner at 9 p.m.

“Eat with the performers and celebrate South Asian culture with delicious food,” said Escott. Tickets for the Curry Pot dinner are $30 per person. Limited tickets available, so reserve your spot through the Ticket Seller Box Office.

“Make sure to also check out all the festive downtown businesses that will be decorating their window displays in a Diwali theme.”

More information and added events can be found at www.vdpac.ca and on the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society’s Facebook page.

READ MORE: Vernon Diwali Festival seeks performers

READ MORE: Okanagan’s best talents in spotlight


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