Carnival serves up full menu of events

A veritable smorgasbord of fun is ready to spice up the winter blues.

Vernon Winter Carnival heats up Friday with the balloon glow

Vernon Winter Carnival heats up Friday with the balloon glow

A veritable smorgasbord of fun is ready to spice up the winter blues.

Cooking with Carnival heats up Friday, with 100 events planned until Feb. 13.

“We want this to be the biggest and best Carnival ever,” said Dave Fletcher, Vernon Winter Carnival chairperson.

“Everyone looks forward to it. It has deep roots and it’s an exciting time for the community. It’s a chance to break out from winter.”

Activities begin Thursday with the proclamation of Queen Silver Star at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Centre.

On Friday, Queen Silver Star will be crowned at Polson Park at 5 p.m., with the Hot Air Balloon Glow set for 6 p.m.

Between 12 and 15 hot air balloons are scheduled to take part in the 19th annual Balloon Fiesta from Friday to Sunday.

“It’s really the opening act to Carnival,” said Fletcher, adding that residents enjoy watching the gentle giants float over the community.

Other events Friday include Suds n’ Cider, the Classic Rock Cafe, the Lantern Ski and the Cookin’ Country Dance.

Always popular is the parade, which starts at noon Saturday on 27th Street, by W.L. Seaton Secondary, and runs through downtown. Huge crowds are expected.

“We are motivating everyone to decorate their floats and cars. We’re looking to improve the parade this year,” said Fletcher.

Planning for Carnival has been underway for several months, and Fletcher is pleased with the progress that’s been made.

“Everything is looking excellent,” he said.

“The volunteers are awesome and they’ve got everything well in hand.”

One of the goals is to return Carnival to its roots.

“We will have more family-driven events, events that you can take your entire family to and have fun,” said Fletcher.

Among them will be Toonie and a Tin at Wesbild Centre Feb. 13 from 10:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Participants can skate with the Vernon Vipers, while there will be children’s activities and family movies. Admission is a toonie and a tin of food for the food bank.

While many of the events are free, others require tickets and about half of the paid events are sold out.

“There are tickets left for some events but it’s getting close to the gun,” said Fletcher.

“That tells me people really want to support Carnival.”

According to Fletcher, there has been considerable enthusiasm around the cooking theme.

“Everyone has bit off on the concept,” he said.

“A lot of restaurants have specials based on Carnival and during the parade, we will see lots of chef hats and aprons.”

For more information about events, go to www.vernonwintercarnival.com.