Carnival cooks up high praise

North Okanagan residents had a healthy appetite when it came to spicing up winter.

Nathanael Dubland tries to hit mom Lorenna in the gladiator pit Sunday at the Toonie and a Tin event at Wesbild Centre. This was one of the final events of this year’s Vernon Winter Carnival.

Nathanael Dubland tries to hit mom Lorenna in the gladiator pit Sunday at the Toonie and a Tin event at Wesbild Centre. This was one of the final events of this year’s Vernon Winter Carnival.

North Okanagan residents had a healthy appetite when it came to spicing up winter.

The 51st annual Vernon Winter Carnival wrapped up Sunday, and the cooking-themed festivities proved popular over the course of 10 days.

“We had an absolutely excellent Carnival,” said chairperson Dave Fletcher.

One hundred events took place, and large crowds were evident everywhere, particularly during the parade Feb. 5.

“It was the biggest parade turnout we’ve ever had and the weather really helped with that,” said Fletcher.

Another draw was the inaugural Toonie and a Tin at Wesbild Centre Sunday.

Residents had an opportunity to skate with the Vernon Vipers, while there were also children’s activities and movies.

Virtually all of the Carnival events requiring tickets sold out.

Fletcher says that accomplishment is impressive given the fact that many residents are facing financial challenges.

“There’s an expectation that Carnival is going to happen every year and they come out big time,” he said.

Winter Carnival had been in the planning stages for months, and Fletcher says credit for its success should go to everyone who took part behind the scenes.

“We are very proud of our volunteers. Without their dedication and the involvement of our sponsors, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

Organizers will now review this year’s Carnival, and begin preparations for 2012.

And while Carnival is into its fifth decade, Fletcher insists the goal is to keep it evolving.

“We’re also hoping to add two or three new events and if people have ideas, we’d love to hear from them,” he said.