Caravan Farm Theatre in Spallumcheen presenting first winter show in two years

Take a Caravan Joyride

Caravan Farm Theatre wants to take people on a Joyride.

The long-standing outdoor theatre in Spallumcheen is presenting a winter show based on Philip Van Doren Stein’s the Greatest Gift, written in 1943.

The Greatest Gift was what the classic movie It's a Wonderful Life is based on.

The Caravan show will feature eight professional actors, sleighs, horses and the beauty of the North Okanagan in wintertime.

Caravan's Estelle Shook said this is the first winter show in two years.

“Our goal is that the audience feels like they’ve just been at the best party ever — that the hosts were so generous and fun that they were just swept along in the pleasure of it all,” said Shook.

And how will Joyride do that?

Well, George Bailey won’t be played by Jimmy Stewart. The role might not even be played by a male, and not even the actors know who will ‘draw’ that role for each of the 70 performances in the opening scene’s parlour game.

The show’s eight “dazzling” professional actors include Laara Sadiq, Allan Louis, George Young, Cheyenne Scott, Agnes Tong, Brahm Taylor, Jesse Gervais and Gloria Morgan.

“We wanted to explore where and how this story has meaning in our current world. And we want to do this with our audience, not for our audience. It’s a collaborative experience, in the way charades or twenty questions is immersive, interactive, and enjoyably collaborative. To achieve this, we have assembled an incredible cast of actors, including two community members Gloria Morgan and George Young,” said Shook.

Celebrated Vancouver composer Marguerite Witvoet selected a handful of recognizable Canadian pop songs, gave them a Christmas twist and then arranged them to be performed by the eight actors, who make an impressive choir.

“The familiarity of these songs gives us dramatic range for the underscoring, and adds an element of ‘name that tune,'” Shook said.

“We’re thrilled to be welcoming our audience back to the winter show. For many, this is their Christmas gift to one another, so we are working hard to make it a meaningful one.”

Tickets for Joyride, on sale now, are available by phone at 1-866-546-8533 or by visiting Caravan online at caravanfarmtheatre.com. The show runs Dec. 3-Jan 2.

COVID protocols, including masks and proof of vaccination, are in place.


Vehicle fire on Highway 97 near Birnie Road

Vehicle fire near landfill

A vehicle fire erupted near the Greater Vernon Landfill Sunday morning.

Deena Lehoux says she encountered the fire around 10:30 a.m. as she was travelling on Highway 97 near Birnie Road.

“It was fully engulfed when we got there, and when we went to leave, we had to wait about 15 minutes while the RCMP waited for some things to blow. When they did, we were able to drive away,” says Lehoux.

She said the vehicle fire was just off Highway 97 at the bottom of the hill that goes up to the landfill at Birnie Road.

Lehoux added she did not see the owner of the vehicle at the scene.

Crews were on scene working to put out the fire.

Two days of advance voting left in Vernon's 2021 municipal by-election

130 voters on third day

The third day of advance voting for Vernon’s 2021 municipal by-election saw over 100 voters, with two more days left.

Remaining advance polling dates are Dec. 1 and 2 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Vernon Council Chambers, 3400 30th Street.

The third day saw 130 voters attend the polls, compared to the second day which brought in just 49 voters.

General voting day is Dec. 4 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Eleven candidates are seeking a seat on council.

The by-election was called following the passing of former councillor Dalvir Nahal.


Annual art sale at the Vernon Community Arts Centre is on until 1 p.m. Christmas Eve

Artsolutely a great event

None of these items will be found in a big box store.

The annual Artsolutely event at the Vernon Community Arts Centre in Polson Park features hundreds of unique, hand-made items that can't be found anywhere else.

“There's just so many wonderful things to buy, something for everyone on your Christmas list,” said Patricia Doyle, with the VCAC.

“They' don't sell this at Wal-Mart. Everything is made locally and it's made with love.”

Artsolutely features everything from paintings to metal work to pottery to glass work and everything in between.

“It's an amazing display of all the locally made things,” said Doyle. “We are really proud of this year's display.”

Artsolutely runs Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays noon to 4 p.m. until 1 p.m. Christmas Eve.

For more information, click here.

Care to Speak here to listen to stressed out health-care workers

Aid for health-care workers

Burnout, stress, and anxiety have been impacting all health-care professionals long before the pandemic, and they are only continuing to exponentially impact the health-care system.

Health-care professionals’ mental health has always taken the back seat, so it is necessary—now more than ever—to help support all health-care professionals in B.C. No matter their views, Care to Speak offers health-care workers confidential, unbiased mental health support both by phone at 1-866-802-7337 (PEER) and online at caretospeak.ca.

Care to Speak is a service provided by Canadian Mental Health Association in partnership with SafeCare BC and supported by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. It is not affiliated with any union or employer. There is no intake process, and health-care workers can get free support in minutes. This peer support service includes facility administrators, care aids, medical office administrators, doctors, nurses, chiropractors, physiotherapist and others. Health-care workers are then supported by a peer supporter who has experience in health care.

Care to Speak is available Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Monday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

With the program’s continued success, Care to Speak will be available to those who work in the social services sector starting in January. Service users for that sector will then be supported by a peer who also works in social services.

Care to Speak is always looking for remote peer support volunteers who have experience in the social services or health-care sector. Training begins in January 2022.

For more information or to apply, visit the Care to Speak website here.

Vernon Fire Brigade Band brought music to the Okanagan and beyond in 1893

The sound of music

After a difficult 20 months, we all deserve a little music.

Many musical groups have called our city home over the years, but they are all predated by the Vernon Fire Brigade Band, formed all the way back in 1893.

The story goes that on a late fall evening in 1893, attendees of the Okanagan and Spallumcheen Exhibition were disappointed by the lack of musical entertainment, and proposed that Vernon should form its own band. That same evening, local bookstore owner A. C. Cann ordered a set of instruments for the new group to use.

Vernon only had a few experienced musicians at the time, so others were quickly taught to play and by January 1894, regular rehearsals were taking place. The band’s first official performance was on May 24, under the direction of bandmaster Robert Fraser.

The bandstand was located on what is now 30th Avenue, and the musicians were decked out in caps and matching uniforms.

Misfortune struck in 1898, when a devastating fire broke out in the building that was housing the band’s equipment. Unfortunately, all of the uniforms and instruments were destroyed. After this tragedy, the Vernon Fire Brigade decided to sponsor the band, and it became known as the Fire Brigade Band.

During the years of 1907, and 1909 to 1911, the band performed at the Provincial Exhibition at New Westminster. When the First World War broke out a few years later, the group broke up, as many of the members enlisted for overseas service. Although the members would reunite in subsequent years to continue making music together, the sponsorship from the fire department had ended and they were no longer known as the Vernon Fire Brigade Band.

Gwyn Evans is the research and communications co-ordinator with the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.

A prowler was caught on camera in the Alexis Park area attempting to break into someones car

Car prowler caught on cam

A resident in the Alexis Park area caught an individual sneaking around his vehicle, trying to break in.

The prowler was seen on camera at 1:50 a.m. Thursday snooping around the owner, Mat's vehicle pulling the door handles trying to get in.

The individual can also be seen ducking down behind the vehicle when another car drives by to not be seen.

After failing to enter Mat’s car, the prowler made his way to another car attempting to get it, but was unsuccessful, again.

Mat says this type of behaviour is common in his area.

“It happens often. I actually have another video of some suspicious behaviour by my door. I also had some stuff stolen. And someone went through our car before,” Mat told Castanet.

The prowler can be seen in the video wearing a backpack, a cap and a black jacket.

Vernon's Sovereign Lake hosting Canada Cup races Dec. 4-5

Help needed for big event

Volunteers are needed for one of the largest cross country ski events of the year.

Racing returns to Vernon's Sovereign Lake with the first FIS race of the year on Dec. 4-5 and more than 80 volunteers are still needed for the Canada Cup event.

Volunteers can get close to the action at the finish and start areas, in timing, helping with food distribution and handing out volunteer gifts as well as assisting on course with control.

Organizers are also looking for a few people with Classic ski technique for assisting the jury on Sunday.

Some of North America's best athletes will be at the event, gaining FIS points to qualify for the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

There is a mandatory vaccination requirement for all athletes, support staff and coaches attending the event.

Should an athlete attend without proper issued paperwork from their PHO or state (or a Vaccine Card for BC Residents), their race status will be listed as a DNS for both events.

Lumby's beloved Cooper the border collie has another calendar that goes on sale Saturday

Cooper Calendars are back

The Cooper Calendar is back - and in high demand.

For the second year, the North Okanagan's best-known canine has his own calendar and once again sales will benefit area non-profits.

Jerry Mason said the first batch of calendars last Christmas sold like hotcakes.

“Last year I had no idea how successful it would be,” said Mason. “The initial print last year was for 100 and I really thought I would have many left over, but the requests kept coming in.”

Mason ended up placing six orders for additional calendars to ensure everybody who wanted a calendar received one.

“This year, the initial order was 400 so we've saved a fair amount on postage,” said Mason, adding people were asking about the calendar three weeks ago.

“Last year, we sold 380 and raised $1,400 equally split between the Lumby Food Bank and Vernon SPCA. This year, our target is $2,000, again equally divided between the same organizations.”

Cooper became a social media darling after Mason started posting pictures of the loveable border collie on Facebook with the caption 'Where's Cooper.'

The posts quickly gained a following, making Cooper a four-legged star.

Cooper's Calendar will go on sale Saturday at the Remax Office on Shuswap Avenue in Lumby from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The 8x8 calendars are selling for $12.

People can also message Mason on Facebook for more ways to buy a calendar.

Christmas Market at Vernon recreation centre has more than 50 vendors

Gifts galore at market

Looking for some unique gift ideas?

Then head down to the Vernon recreation complex for the Christmas Market.

Organizer Mayle Janezen said the market was originally planned to be held in the BX area, but a change of plans sent it the Halina Centre.

“We've got more than 50 vendors today and two food trucks parked out front,” said Janzen, adding Santa will be paying a visit and posing for professional pictures from 2-5 p.m.

“There is just a really wide variety of locally produced artisan goods,” she said. “This will be a great place to come down to, especially if you are sick of the mall. So come out, support local and see all of our artisans.”

The Christmas Market is on until 8 p.m.

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