Bright lights start the season

The days are short and the air is cold, so it's high time for some lights and festivity, which the South Okanagan will have in spades this month.

Osoyoos, Oliver and Penticton will all have Christmas light-up events, but the biggest celebration of all is no doubt the 31st annual Summerland Festival of Light, taking place this year on Nov. 30

Around 8,000 people are expected to flood downtown Summerland for the official turning-on of the city's lights and holiday tree, plus live music, pictures with Santa and the Mrs., family activities and a festive fireworks display to cap off the evening. 

Interactive ice sculptures will be created live throughout the event, and on the main stage at Memorial Park, performers Cod Gone Wild will be providing entertainment, along with B.C. singer Nicole Sumerlyn and Penticton-based group the Hillside Outlaws. There will also be tastings at the Summerland Museum and Main Street Yoga of local wineries, breweries and distilleries for a $5 donation, proceeds from which will benefit the Summerland Food Bank.

The festivities will get started at 5 p.m. with the Santa Parade, and at 7 p.m., the lights will go on, followed by fireworks at 8:30 p.m.

Summerland will keep the holiday spirit going all weekend as well, with the Light up the Vines event on Bottleneck Drive, a route in and around Summerland with 20 wineries, three cideries, one brewery and a brand new distillery. 

"It’s exciting to have so many guests come out to see our vineyards, orchards and tasting rooms, all lit up for the holidays," said Bottleneck Drive Association President Julian Scholefield. 

The tasting rooms will all be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2. Light the Vines passports will be available for visitors wishing to participate in the stamp program and potentially win a prize package valued at over $500. 

Penticton will have its own light-up ceremony next week in tandem with an Art Walk, which will see eight galleries in downtown Penticton open to the public from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the holiday lights in Nanaimo Square lit up on Nov. 22. 

In Oliver, the lights go on Nov. 24 in Oliver Community Park, with family activities throughout the afternoon, the official light-up at 6:15 and a bonfire and fireworks later in the evening. 

And in Osoyoos, the Lite-Up and Parade will take place Nov. 30 on Main Street. 

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