Poodle skirts will be hoppin’ and legends like Elvis and Elton will be boppin’ as Vernon Winter Carnival is rockin’ Feb. 6 to 15.
Carnival of Rock and Roll is cranked up for the 55th year, with a roster of events longer than the jukebox list.
“It’s the third biggest carnival in Canada behind Quebec,” said Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund. “So we’re the biggest in Western Canada.”
Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal recalls childhood memories of the many events such as the parade and figures like jopo (who marks his 50th birthday Feb. 9 at the Halina Centre) and jopette.
“It’s such a culture that we’ve created and we should be so proud,” said Nahal, at Wednesday’s media launch at the Fairfield Inn.
There’s something for every age and interest during Winter Carnival, including a number of free events lined up.
The biggest event of Carnival, the parade, gets underway Feb. 7 at noon, running the traditional route from 27th Street, down 30th Avenue and along 31st Street.
“Hopefully the weather is good,” said director Don Gilowski of the popular event which residents line the streets to see.
“There is still room. We have about 120 entry spots in total and we have about 80 (filled) so far,” said Gilowski, urging some of the historic crowd-pleasers to return.
The tradition of Bandarama after the parade continues at the Vernon Recreation Complex at 2 p.m. And this year, the showcase of music and dance is open to all community performers, not just those in the parade.
“We’re making it more of a community showcase,” said director Ruth Hoyte, urging everyone to come out and vote for first, second and third People’s Choice.
Another Carnival highlight is the Hot Air Balloon Glow and Fiesta, now in its 23rd year. The gentle giants will light up the night Feb. 6 at Polson Park at 5:30 p.m. (right after the Count Down to Carnival at 5 – the official opening ceremonies).
This year the public will be able to get up close and personal with the balloons as they are allowed to walk in and around them.
“It was squashed for a few years for safety but we’re opening it up again this year,” said director Mark Meaney, who has 10 balloons lined up so far.
The majestic giants will dot the skies during the days Feb. 6 to 8 as they roll across the city scape competing for prize money in the Fiesta.
Every place in and around town is urged to get in the Carnival spirit and enter the Best Decorated Premises Contest. The deadline for entries is Jan. 23, with judges coming around Feb. 5 and 6.
“We love to see the community decorate for Winter Carnival,” said Sarah Moorhouse, secretary, urging schools to let them know what kinds of things they are doing to celebrate Carnival too. Schools also have until Jan. 23 to enter their own original Carnival of Rock and Roll themed poster.
Before Carnival officially begins, there are also a couple of royal events with Queen Silver Star candidates: the Showcase Jan. 18 at the Schubert Centre and Proclamation Feb. 5 at the Performing Arts Centre.
Then events really start rockin’.
There’s a Sparkling Snowflake Ball with the Legendary Lake Monsters Feb. 6, as well as a Moonlit Lantern Ski at Sovereign Lake.
“The club has a set of 100 lanterns that they put out along a four-kilometre trail for the public,” said Sovereign’s new general manager Troy Hudson. The nordic club also celebrates Family Day Feb. 9 and hosts a Guided Snowshoe to the Black Prince Cabin Feb. 13.
Family Day in Polson Park Feb. 9 offers free fun for everyone, including free burgers, smores, hot chocolate, games and face painting.
“It’s totally free and it’s totally fun,” said director April Kimble.
Last, but not least, a tradition of its own, the Coca-Cola Classic Pee Wee Hockey Tournament marks its 44th year Feb. 12 to 15 at Civic Arena.
“This is some of the best 12- and 13-year-old hockey players internationally,” said Keith Green, a pee wee assistant coach.
The jopo House Luncheon features March Hare, who will give guests a rockin’ ride through the decades of music Feb. 11, 12 and 13 at the Best Western Vernon Lodge.
Winter Breakout rocks the Schubert Centre Feb. 11 with a celebration of the Citizen of the Year and the RCMP Volunteer Award. The Schubert Centre is also hosting four dinner theatre shows Feb. 11 through 14.
“Already our very experienced rock and rollers have been busy preparing,” said Ed Howard, Schubert Centre president.
The dinner shows, No Rock; No Roll, feature an original script from Mike Poirier.
“We’re back this year after a five-year hiatus,” said Poirier, whose script features a surprise guest.
Another popular dinner show at Carnival is Medieval Madness Feb. 14, featuring a five-course dinner alongside the entertainment. But the 120-seat Knight to Remember is selling fast. “There’s probably only about 35 tickets left for that event,” said Diana Williamson, carnival executive director.
There are just too many events to list. For all the details, pick up a Carnival brochure or visit vernonwintercarnival.com.
Visit www.vernonmorningstar.com for a rockin’ Carnival video to get you amped up for the tradition.