Crowds pile into Oliver Fall Festival to view the first annual Beer Olympics

1,000s attend fall festivities

Casey Richardson

The Oliver Fall Festival returned after a two-year hiatus with the first annual Beer Olympics on Saturday and the 25th anniversary of the Festival of the Grape.

Crowds were piled into Oliver community park to watch teams compete in the Amazing Oliver Race while enjoying the Cask and Keg festivities.

“It's been a long time coming. So the community is excited to have everything back again, we're excited to have it all back and we've got the best weather for it” Ian Lobb, the executive director for Oliver Tourism said.

From Friday until Sunday, the event brings together breweries, wineries, distilleries, artisans, musicians and eateries together for three days of family-friendly fun.

“I think it really kind of showcases the community, it showcases the volunteers. It showcases everybody, all the businesses around here it really kind of brings people together and is something that people in this area really proud of.”

Lobb said this year the organizers looked at how to add a new way to bring more excitement to it, which prompted adding the beer festivity to the Festival of the Grape.

“This year, we thought by doing the Amazing Race and by adding the beer Olympics, it really adds a whole different element to it and gets people excited. You saw costumes, you saw just the energy around it and the crowds that came around for that event. So we're going to expand that again next year too.”

The event also highlights the extended tourism season in the South Okanagan.

“That most people think the Okanagan is summer. They come here for the summer from Alberta, across Canada, the States and a lot from Europe to come to this area. So it's really nice to have extended into the fall and realize what the harvest is going on in the wineries and the fruit, the growers. It's a great time here to be here,” Lobb added.

“Even last night, we saw people from all over we saw people from Prince George from the island, from Alberta, a couple from the States and from Europe. So it really brings people into the community helps the accommodators, the accommodations, helps the restaurants and helps the local business.

Around 4000 people are expected to attend the weekend event.

“With having the extra third day and the idea of having different events, that does bring people earlier to Oliver and helps them stay longer, which is what we want to do.”

Sunday features the world-renowned Grape Stomp Competition, in which Castanet will be taking part.

Tickets are still available to come out on the last day of the festival. More information can be found online here.

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