It’s time to get the party started!
A sea of gold, green and purple will be filling the streets, local venues and businesses as A Mardi Gras Carnival gets underway this weekend.
The 56th annual Vernon Winter Carnival kicks off Friday with the opening of and viewing of the B.C. Championship Snow Sculpture Competition, Hot Air Balloon Fiesta taking flight (weather dependant), the Balloon Glow (which has been moved to Kin Race Track and starts at 5 p.m.) and Suds N’ Cider.
Friday marks the first of 10 full days of more than 80 Carnival events, ranging from Mardi Gras-themed parties to a Kids Karnival, a chilling dip in Kalamalka Lake, a tea party and much more.
“Only 20 of those, I believe, are paid events, the rest are free,” said Deb White, Carnival chairperson.
So far, tickets are flying out the Carnival office doors this week as people rush to get in on all the fun.
“Dinner theatre is sold out for Friday and Saturday nights and Wednesday and Thursday nights are getting pretty tight,” said White. “jopo houses are filling up nicely and so is Irish Pub night.
“Tickets sales are moving so if you want an event get in now if you don’t want to be disappointed.”
There have been some Carnival casualties as White regrets to announce that the Snowflake Ball has been cancelled (but will be back in 2017) as well as Mardi Gras at Bourbon Street.
Meanwhile this year’s parade is expected to be one of the most colourful on record with close to 100 entries taking on the theme.
“I think it’s going to be a very colourful parade. Everybody is embracing the theme this year,” said White, noting a lot of gold, green and purple and a lot of the blues.
But before setting up your lawn chairs downtown to watch the parade at noon Saturday, the public is invited to grab a $5 breakfast burrito beforehand in the White House Mortgages parking lot.
After the parade, the public is also invited to take in all the talents of marching bands, drill teams, singing and dancing at Bandarama, Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Vernon Rec Complex.
Events continue throughout the weekend, which is extended thanks to Family Day on Monday, which will be celebrated in Polson Park with a full day of free fun from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“There will be a huge bouncy globe in the park for kids to play in from Milk West,” said White, also noting games, face painting, broom ball, bonfire and more.
The lineup of activities continues throughout the week with everything from hockey to a kids dance party, blues festival, burlesque and more. Also roaming the streets, on the eye for party poopers, will be the Carnival Cops.
“If you want to have your boss or co-worker arrested just send in the form,” urges White. “We’re also looking for themes for next year’s Carnival.”
Volunteers are needed to pull the many facets of Carnival together, including those interested in being jopo or jopette.
“And we’re always looking for fresh, new members or board members,” said White.
For more information, including a full list of events, visit the Carnival office at 3401 35th Avenue or vernonwintercarnival.com.