Vernon’s annual 10 days of winter fun and frivolity is ready to fly.
With its theme Carnival of Superheroes, the 54th annual Vernon Winter Carnival kicks off Thursday with the proclamation and coronation of Queen Silver Star at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the program starting at 7 p.m.
Opening weekend of Carnival includes the Carnival Countdown starting at 5 p.m. Friday at Polson Park.
“It’s the official opening ceremony,” said Carnival executive director Diana Williamson. “The VIPs will be introduced, people can meet the new queen and her princesses, and then we’ll start the countdown to starting the hot air balloon glow at 5:30 p.m. That will last about an hour.”
The hot air balloons return for the annual balloon fiesta throughout the opening weekend, with the skies expected to be filled with the popular flight mode.
More than 110 entries will gather on 27th Street Saturday for the annual Vernon Winter Carnival parade which, as always, starts at noon.
The parade heads south on 27th Street and turns right onto 30th Avenue. The floats, bands and comic entries will parade west on 30th before turning right onto 31st Street and heading to the finish at the Civic Arena.
Also part of opening weekend is the B.C. Snow Sculpture competition at Silver Star Mountain Resort. Teams begin sculpting away at 10 a.m. Friday and continue through to 10 a.m. Sunday.
The winners, who will represent B.C. at the national competition in Quebec, will be announced at 11 a.m. Sunday.
One of Carnival’s oldest, longest running events – the Feather Fanciers Show, Antique and Collectible Sale – goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Vernon Rec Centre.
Among the birds on display will be the superheroes of birds during the World Wars – the carrier pigeon, which were used to transport messages to and from the front lines.
Among the new events for the 54th annual Vernon Winter Carnival is the Olympic Superhero Party Extravaganza, set for Thursday, Feb. 13, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the rec centre.
The $25 ticket price includes the blockbuster movie The Avengers on a big blow-up screen.
Tickets for many Winter Carnival events are still available.
“Suds and Cider and the Sweetheart’s Chocolate Dreams snowshoe tour are sold out, and there are limited tickets left for events like Medieval Madness and Irish Pub Night,” said Williamson.
Tickets are available at the Carnival office, 3401-35th Avenue, or online at www.vernonwintercarnival.com.
Unfortunately, several events have been cancelled. Those include the Ukrainian Food Festival, the Interclub Speed Skate, and the Vernon Singles Club’s Super Social Carnival Dance.
Lots of Carnival events are free and for the entire family.
“That’s our emphasis: family, fun, free,” said Williamson.
Winter Carnival Family Day takes place Saturday, Feb. 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Polson Park. The free event includes games, bonfire, entertainment, food and fun for the entire family.
One of the more popular events helps wrap up Carnival on Sunday, Feb. 16, the Toonie and a Tin Skate at Kal Tire Place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $2 per person, or $5 per family, plus a tin of food for the food bank.
Information on all Winter Carnival events can be found in the official brochure, available at numerous outlets throughout Vernon, or online at the carnival website.
Don’t forget to wear your Carnival button or the Carnival Cops could throw you in the hoosegow.