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300 years of tradition

A 300 year tradition is coming to Vernon and it is going to be a bonnie big show.

The Okanagan Military Tattoo 2014 will feature over 400 performers including dozens of dancers, drums, bands, bagpipes and kilts all on stage August 1 and 2 at Kal Tire Place.

A 'Military Tattoo' is designed to demonstrate military drumming, piping and skills.

It’s called a ‘tattoo’ because when the British Army was fighting in Belgium 300 years ago, soldiers were called in from the pubs each night for curfew, or Doe den tap toe, Dutch for ‘Turn off the tap’.

Producer/Director of the Okanagan Military Tattoo 2014 Norm Crerar says it will be a show to see with over 200 local performers showing their skill.

“There really is something here for everybody. There is a military feel to the show and the Vernon cadet camp is a big part of the show and has been a big part of the community for over 100 years,” says Crerar. “There will also be a tribute to the vets in the second half of the show, so we are appealing to people who are eight to 80.”

He says Vernon is home to expansive Department of National Defence grounds that have been used to train thousands of armed forces and army cadets over the years.

Today, he adds that many Canadian veterans have retired in the Okanagan and they keep alive the traditions of military drumming and piping.

Crerar says the stage itself will be magnificent taking up the whole ice surface. The set design is 85-feet wide and 26-feet tall with a castle façade closing off the north end of Kal Tire Place.

“The stage is the size of the hockey rink or the ice surface so it is really a big big stage. Lots of lights, great sound, lots of action, so it's a real family show,” shares an excited Crerar.

Master Set Builder Dave Brotski and his set building team have spent over 250 volunteer hours so far putting the stage together.

Crerar says they have landed some big bands and performers for this year's Tattoo, including:

  • Calgary Stampede Band of Outriders (Calgary)
  • RCMP Pipe Band (50 or so from Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina)
  • RCMP Ceremonial Troop (all of BC)
  • Royal Canadian Artillery Band (Edmonton)
  • Kamloops Pipe Band
  • Shuswap Pipes and Drums
  • Kelowna Pipe Band
  • Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band (Vernon)
  • Arran Campbell Memorial Pipe Band (Vernon)
  • Highland Dancers
  • Ukrainian Dancers
  • Punjabi Dancers
  • Firefighter challenge
  • Tattoo Choir (100 voices)
  • Royal Canadian Legion and ANAVets with a Tribute to the Veterans

The Royal Canadian Artillery Band will be one of the headliners of the event and will be performing a free public concert at Silver Star Mountain to get everyone ramped up for Tattoo.

The concert will be at Silver Star Mountain Saturday evening, July 26 starting at 7 p.m. Folks should bring lawn chairs and a jacket in case of cool weather.  

For more information or tickets check out The Okanagan Military Tattoo 2014 website here.  

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