Historic O’Keefe Ranch in Spallumcheen has announced a soft opening, complying with social distancing rules, on Wednesday, June 17. (Morning Star - file photo)

Historic O’Keefe Ranch in Spallumcheen has announced a soft opening, complying with social distancing rules, on Wednesday, June 17. (Morning Star - file photo)

O’Keefe Ranch updates Vernon council on plans for COVID-19 reopening

O’Keefe Ranch in Spallumcheen will open under social distancing rules Wednesday, June 17

Spallumcheen’s historic O’Keefe Ranch has announced a soft opening for 2020.

The ranch is rallying through the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to trouble not-for-profit organization by scheduling a soft opening for Wednesday, June 17.

Now through June 16, the ranch is allowing the public to access the grounds as a way to just get people outdoors in a safe environment. Donation boxes have been set up around the grounds and cash and online donations are encouraged and greatly appreciated.

On June 17, the ranch will start running mini-events which will allow patrons to purchase a ticket on TicketSeller and attend either a 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. event.

“Some of the mini-events include a self-guided tour with maps and information and a heritage building tour which includes your group’s own interpreter,” said Tim Gibson finance and marketing manager for the ranch. “More mini tours will be made available as they navigate the safety protocols of the pandemic. Some mini-events will be free for season pass holders, but a ticket and registration is still required to ensure the tour does not exceed the maximum tour limits.”

Gibson told Vernon councillors June 8, the tour format is a “Gilligan’s Island model” meets “Gumby” referring to the three-hour tours and flexibility required amid COVID-19 times.

The O’Keefe Ranch has announced that all 2020 season passes will be extended to include the 2021 season.

For those who are interested in purchasing a 2020-21 season pass, the ranch is currently offering 20 per cent off the regular price.

The ranch said a Cowboy Campfire experience will serve as a replacement for the Cowboy Dinner Show as well as a more in-depth animal tour, sure to be loved by all ages. Building access will be limited and several buildings will not be able to open this year as the flow of traffic will not allow for safe practices of social distancing.

Gibson told council community support will be more important this year than most. He said anyone interested in helping the ranch could volunteer, for a variety of positions, or contribute financially through online or cash donations, or simply purchase a season pass and attend events.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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