For the first time since the Vernon Winter Carnival began, there will be no parade.
The 61st annual carnival takes place in early February, but COVID concerns mean there will be no parade for 2021.
Vicki Proulx, carnival executive director, says organizers had been working closely with Interior Health to come up with a way to safely hold the parade, but “health authorities feel, at this time, there are too many moving parts to keep it safe for the public and participants.”
The carnival parade is the only parade on Vernon's calendar and is one of the biggest events at carnival, regularly attracting thousands of people to the downtown core.
“We are so thankful for the guidance from Interior Health. We were only going forward with the parade if we could do it safely – and if Interior Health feels we can’t, we understand their reasoning and their decision,” said Proulx.
“We weren't going to go ahead with it without their blessing.”
But carnival officials have not written off the parade entirely, and there is a chance it may be held later in the year.
“We will do it as soon as we possibly can, even if we have to have a winter carnival parade in July,” said Proulx. “It can be a Christmas in July kind of idea. Doesn’t matter the season, we’ll bring the winter carnival parade to the community as soon as we can.”
Meanwhile, provincial restrictions due to COVID have changed how the rest of carnival will look this year.
The Wild West themed carnival will be hosting virtual events as well as a drive-through ice park in Polson Park featuring ice sculptures matching the theme.
Tickets for carnival events are available here.