Vernon’s Historic O’Keefe Ranch has found the means to stay open for weekends through October and possibly for its operations in December, the ranch said Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. The ranch with more than 150 years of history has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. ((O’Keefe Ranch/Facebook)

Vernon’s Historic O’Keefe Ranch has found the means to stay open for weekends through October and possibly for its operations in December, the ranch said Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. The ranch with more than 150 years of history has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. ((O’Keefe Ranch/Facebook)

Support keeps Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch afloat through fall

The ranch hit hard by COVID-19 will stay open through October, possibly December

The curtains haven’t closed on the Historic O’Keefe Ranch’s 2020 season.

After announcing last month that its season would be cut short due to revenue losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular Vernon attraction has found enough money to stay open for weekends through October, and possibly for its operations in December.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year and the rollercoaster hasn’t stopped,” ranch management said in an email sent Thursday, Sept. 24.

The pandemic forced the ranch to reduce its activities due to restrictions on travel that have put a chill on the tourism industry.

But the ranch says support from the city and from the community through its Fill the Steer fundraiser have alleviated some of the resulting financial stress.

At its Sept. 14 meeting, Vernon city councillors voted to defer a $70,000 interest-free loan to the ranch and all annual property insurance recoveries between 2019 and 2021 until Dec. 31, 2022.

Vernon city Coun. Scott Anderson also put forward a notice of motion that could see the O’Keefe Ranch’s expected $50,000 2021 grant from the City of Vernon increased to a total of $125,000.

“We want to give a public thanks to the city for granting our requests,” said Bruce Cummings, chair of the ranch’s board of directors. “We have been contacted by the public, volunteers and the staff on ways to keep operations moving along. We need to make sure the ranch has enough funds to open again next season but we also understand the positive impact of keeping up momentum and keeping a presence in the community.”

Though the Field of Screams is not able to run this year due to COVID-19, the ranch will keep the family corn maze and some ranch activities open through October for admission by donation.

“With a large open space, the ranch can provide families a safe place to enjoy outdoor activities which may prove difficult in other settings this October,” the ranch said.

“The support received to keep the animals on site has ensured all the critters will remain and can be enjoyed by visitors in October. Ghost Tours will also be returning for some select dates in October.”

READ MORE: City provides financial relief for Vernon attraction

READ MORE: Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Coronavirushistory

Just Posted

A grant from the Okanagan Basin Water Board has allowed the historic O’Keefe Ranch in Spallumcheen to construct and complete its rain gardens project. (O’Keefe Ranch photo)
Spallumcheen ranch protects ecosystem with water grant

Historic O’Keefe Ranch receives $20,000 to construct and complete rain gardens project

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

(File photo)
Repeated cougar sighting on Okanagan Rail Trail

Plenty of bear sightings around the valley too

Vernon local Ryan Lazar – who specializes in 2D background design and 3D animation – is ready to start his career after a tough yet rewarding two years of studies. (Contributed)
Okanagan College students get animated at graduation

‘The pandemic has resulted in more video consumption and the animation industry is so hot right now because of it’

An e-scooter and a car bumper make for a narrow passthrough on a sidewalk out front of the Kelowna Law Courts on Wednesday, April 28. (Michael Rodriguez/Black Press)
E-scooters ready to roll in Vernon

Final bylaw changes in place to allow personal use and for companies to operate a rental program

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Barriere RCMP nabbed two suspects who were allegedly breaking into cabins in McLure. (File photo)
Thieves nabbed by Barriere Mounties during McLure break-ins

Police Service Dog Kody instrumental in making the arrest

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

RCMP vest
Penticton beach brawl results in one arrest but no charges

People took to social media after a fight broke out at the fire pits at Okanagan Lake Saturday

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

A single motorcycle parked outside of the Kelowna Hells Angels clubhouse at 837 Ellis Street on July 9, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Hells Angels prospect sentenced to 9 months in jail for aggravated assault

Colin Michael Bayley pleaded guilty to the downtown Kelowna assault earlier this month

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

Salmon Arm RCMP are seeking witnesses to a single-vehicle collision that occurred on Highway 1 on May 16, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP seek persons who transported injured driver, motorcycle to hospital

Motorcyclist involved in a single-vehicle collision on Highway 1

Most Read