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Celebrating Steamfest

In recognition of the SS Sicamous, Kettle Valley Railway system and other historic landmarks celebrating 100 years in 2014 and 2015, Okanagan Steamfest will kick off in May. 

Steamfest will bring 18 months of steam driven events to the South Okanagan, and starts off during Steamfest Week on Victoria Day.

There will be a launch of a commemorative stamp and an outdoor Steam Show, where local residents can register their home-made steam craft and gadgets in hopes of winning prizes in their category.

"The museum community in the Okanagan is very excited to be celebrating the history of steam travel to the region," said Peter Ord, curator of the Penticton Museum. "The centennial of the SS Sicamous Sternwheeler and the Kettle Valley Railway is such a unique aspect of Okanagan heritage, what better way to recognize Steamfest than by bringing together a field full of pumping steam engines."

The SS Sicamous, known as the Queen of the Lake for the past century, was launched on May 19, 1914.

After she was launched from Okanagan Landing, where she was built, she served almost three decades as a transport vessel for passengers and cargo up and down the lake.

She transported fruit, livestock and coal to market and carried hundreds of soldiers in WWI off to war and brought the survivors home.

The public is welcome to come down to the Penticton-based sternwheeler from 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, May 19 to check out the show and have a free tour.

The following Saturday, May 24, there will be a centennial launch party at the SS Sicamous with beer and wine tastings, fine foods and live music.

To register steam craft in the show, contact Peter Ord at [email protected], or visit the website at www.steamfest.ca.

For more information about the launch party or the SS Sicamous, contact Jessie Dunlop at (250) 492-0403.

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