Organizers excited for return of Vernon Winter Carnival without pandemic restrictions

Pumped up for carnival

Excitement is building for Vernon's 63rd annual Vernon Winter Carnival.

Carnival brochures have just hit the street, with 10,000 being distributed across the city, and carnival buttons are now available at the office on 35th Avenue.

A total of 132 events are on the books for the Feb. 3-13 festivities.

Outgoing executive director Vicki Proulx and incoming director Kris Fuller say they're "very excited, over the moon" for the return of a full carnival without COVID restrictions.

"I feel people are excited to get back out there and be in a crowd again," said Proulx.

"It feels like carnival again" after two years of scaled-down celebrations.

A number of new events are on tap, including carnival's first venture into concert promotion, with the Reklaws 'barnburner' concert at Kal Tire Place on Feb. 10.

The Vernon Speedskating Club is also planning an outdoor Olympic-sized rink for races on Swan Lake, weather permitting.

The popular Balloon Glow will be back at Polson Park in bigger fashion on opening weekend, and balloons will fly, again weather dependent.

The Vernon Museum is hosting two events matching carnival's TV theme for 2023. Those are a TV trivia night and a Saturday morning cartoons 'cereal party' for kids.

California kickball is also a new event, combining elements of softball and soccer.

The 12-plus family event is "kind of like baseball, but you kick the ball instead of using a bat, and run around the bases," says Proulx.

That event will take place at Graham Park beside Fulton Secondary School.

Fuller says the TV theme opens up a wide world of possibilities for costumes and business decorations, from game shows, to soap operas, sitcoms and more.

"We're super excited to see what people come up with," she said.

Tickets for carnival events go on sale at 9 a.m. Dec. 2. Expect a long lineup outside the carnival office.

Fuller and Proulx say it's early to determine parade entries, but now is the time to get going on float building for those considering an entry.

And for the first time, carnival will have its own float in the parade, which will be used the rest of the year to promote Vernon at festivals around the province.

Fuller, who was recently announced as successor to Proulx, says she has "jumped right in" and despite a steep learning curve is enjoying the "positivity and excitement."

Proulx, who will be guiding the transition through carnival, admits "it's hard to let go, but we couldn't have asked for anyone better."

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