Cast members Brian Martin (top row, from left), Vince Walzak, Peter Kaz, Nevada Christensen (middle row, from left), Victor Cumming, Roger Knox and Rebecca Barton (bottom) act out the virtual play Our HOME Town, written by Vernon’s Jason Armstrong, during its three-night run for the Vernon Winter Carnival. (Our HOME Town photo)

Cast members Brian Martin (top row, from left), Vince Walzak, Peter Kaz, Nevada Christensen (middle row, from left), Victor Cumming, Roger Knox and Rebecca Barton (bottom) act out the virtual play Our HOME Town, written by Vernon’s Jason Armstrong, during its three-night run for the Vernon Winter Carnival. (Our HOME Town photo)

Okanagan winter carnival a virtual hit

Community, businesses support annual Vernon event that had to think outside box in 2021

She’s exhausted, and she still has two raffle draws to oversee, but Vicki Proulx knows the show has to go on.

The executive director of the Vernon Winter Carnival will be in her office Tuesday starting planning on the 2022 event.

“Suggestions for themes will start coming in right away,” laughed Proulx on Monday as she and the volunteer board were cleaning up the Drive-Thru Ice Park at Polson Park.

The 61st annual Carnival, with its Wild West theme, wrapped up Sunday, Feb. 14.

The ice park was the Carnival’s chance to provide a live event for the community in the time of COVID. More than 1,500 cars went through the park during Carnival’s run.

“That was a chance to provide something to the community,” said Proulx. “I think it says a lot about our ability to adapt and host events with COVID in the world. It was a lot more work, but it was important. It was an opportunity to think outside the box.”

That thinking also applied to Vernon’s Heather Sharpe of Sherpa Group Events/Management/Production.

She helped create and directed a virtual theatre performance with the help of local playwright Jason Armstrong, who adapted the Thornton Wilder classic Our Town into Our HOME Town for a successful three-night run during Carnival.

The play, which featured local celebrities and actors Brian Martin and Rebecca Barton from Beach Radio’s morning show, Dave Sayer, Susan Currie, Peter Kaz, Melina Schein Moore, Craig Howard, Mayor Victor Cumming, Vince Walzak, Nevada Christensen, Emma Martin, Connor Sharpe and Roger Knox of Black Press, drew people watching from as far away as Princeton, the Lower Mainland and even the U.S.

Other events that went on during the 61st Carnival included Cops Rod Koenig and John Fawcett hauling in some renowned citizens in the annual Arrest the Best to raise money for charity. A scavenger hunt and chili cook-off were held throughout downtown Vernon.

Businesses got into the spirit with western-themed displays inside and on their windows.

“The support we get from the community and businesses is over the top,” said Proulx. “It’s amazing. Our board and our volunteers, I can’t thank them enough for the hours they’ve put in.”

The final two functions of the 61st annual Carnival are two raffle draws. The first goes Tuesday, Feb. 16, in which four winning tickets will be drawn. And the grand prize raffle, the 2019 Polaris snowmobile with $1,000 worth of sledding gear from BDM Motorsports, will be drawn Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Ticket sales for both are closed.

READ MORE: Vernon Winter Carnival Society lights up downtown square

READ MORE: Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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