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Vernon Winter Carnival elects new board chair

Erik Olesen replaces Deb White, who steps down after 10 years, the last five as chair
Erik Olesen (front row, second from left) is the new board chair of the Vernon Winter Carnival, which held its annual general meeting Tuesday, June 23, at Paddlewheel Hall. Joining Olesen on the board, and respecting physical distancing for the photo, are, from left: Kirbey Lockhart, Ruth Hoyte, Brian Langner, Amanda Wilms, Paul Cousins, Shelley Ward, Caroline Radics, Rod Koenig, Laurell Cornell, Peter Kaz, Justine McPherson, Vicki Proulx, Leah Martel and Josh Winquist (missing is Boris Ivanoff). (VWC - photo)

Her favourite Vernon Winter Carnival events have been the morning volunteer appreciation gathering, and the Parka Party at Predator Ridge.

Her favourite theme was her last as chairperson, Carnival Remembers the 60s, as the event celebrated its 60th anniversary in February 2020. Her favourite costume came from that Carnival, decked out in a pink vest and making a peace sign.

There have been lots of fun moments with Carnival for Deb White who, after 10 years with the board – the last five as chair – officially stepped down at the organization’s annual general meeting Tuesday, June 23, at Paddlewheel Hall.

“What a wonderful group of people I have been able to work with and call friends,” said White, who was given parting gifts, paid tribute to in a picture slide show, and told by the new board she’d have to volunteer at future Carnivals.

“To the board of directors past and present, thank you for the giggles, the fun meetings and the friendships that have been made. These times will not be forgotten. To the new board of directors elected, I wish you all great success. I am so excited to see so many familiar names come forward for this event. You are going to have a great time.”

Vernon Winter Carnival will celebrate its 61st anniversary in 2021 with Carnival of the Wild West as the theme. The new sheriff elected to oversee the board is Erik Olesen, who brings lots of board and community involvement to the position.

Olesen has been chair of the Alzheimer’s Walk Vernon for the last three years, the Youth Accessibility Leader for two years with the federal government’s Enabling Accessibility Fund initiative bringing dollars to the community and region to build a more accessible future for youth, a volunteer for the Sunshine Festival and other community-driven initiatives.

“I am pleased that I have been selected as the 28th chair of the Vernon Winter Carnival Society at the age of 28,” said Olesen. “I know that I have a huge responsibility moving forward as well as big shoes to fill as we say goodbye to outgoing chair Deb White after years of dedication to the society and community through Carnival. I am very excited to get planning with the new and returning board of directors.”

Joining Olesen on the board are vice-chair Laurell Cornell, treasurer Brian Langner and secretary Ruth Hoyte. New directors include Amanda Wilms, Boris Ivanoff, Josh Winquist, Justine McPherson, Leah Martel and Peter Kaz.

Returning directors include Caroline Radics, Kirbey Lockhart, Paul Cousins, Rod Koenig and Shelley Ward.

The new board also paid tribute and extended their gratitude to outgoing board member Corinne van de Crommenacker (vice-chair), and directors Roel van de Crommenacker, Annette Timm, Joy Stafford and Dawn Tucker.

Olesen said the new board will face challenges moving forward, and is unsure at this time how COVID-19 will affect the planned 2021 Carnival.

“The resilient community of Vernon with the dedication of our directors, executive director, volunteers, sponsors and all who make Carnival what it has been over the last 60 years will continue to move forward,” he said.

“I look forward to working with our team of directors to bring new ideas forward, continue to provide a wonderful Carnival experience for locals and visitors, and most importantly, look to bring Carnival into a new era.”

The board would like to encourage the community to come forward with suggestions for events, or to volunteer. Visit for more information on events, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.

READ MORE: Vernon Winter Carnival a success

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In 10 years on the Vernon Winter Canival board – the last five as chair – Deb White got to wear a lot of costumes during the themed event. This outfit, from the 2020 Carnival Remembers the 60s, was her favourite. White stepped down at the Carnival’s annual general meeting Tuesday, June 23. Taking over is Erik Olesen. (Facebook photo)

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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