Lifestyles

Steamfest celebrates SS Sicamous centennial

On May 19, the SS Sicamous will celebrate the launch of the ship’s maiden voyage exactly one century earlier. Steamfest will celebrate with a commemorative stamp, free tours and more.  - Submitted Photo
On May 19, the SS Sicamous will celebrate the launch of the ship’s maiden voyage exactly one century earlier. Steamfest will celebrate with a commemorative stamp, free tours and more.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

It is a 100th birthday party that everyone is invited to celebrate.

On May 19, the SS Sicamous will celebrate the launch of the ship’s maiden voyage exactly one century earlier.

In honour of the SS Sicamous, SS Naramata and Kettle Valley Railway system, all celebrating 100 years in 2014 and 2015, Okanagan Steamfest was born.

“The museum community in the Okanagan is very excited to be celebrating the history of steam travel to the region,” said Peter Ord, curator of the Penticton Museum. “The centennial of the SS Sicamous Sternwheeler and the Kettle Valley Railway is such a unique aspect of Okanagan heritage, what better way to recognize Steamfest than by bringing together a field full of pumping steam engines?”

The SS Sicamous, also known as Queen of the Lake, served almost three decades as a transport vessel for passengers and cargo up and down the lake. At precisely 2:15 p.m. on May 19, 1914 the steam-driven paddle wheeler splashed into Okanagan Lake for her first trip.

The ship transported fruit, livestock, coal market, soldiers to World War One and brought the lucky ones home.

The festival kicks off during Steamfest Week on Victoria Day with the launch of a commemorative stamp and outdoor Steam Show, where local residents can register their home-made steam-craft and gadgets in hopes of winning prizes in their category. The collector stamp will be available for purchase. The public is welcome to come down to the SS Sicamous from 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, May 19 to check out the show and have a free tour. The following Saturday, May 24, there will be a Centennial Launch Party at the SS Sicamous with wine and beer tastings, fine foods and live music. To register steam craft in the show, contact Ord at info@steamfest.ca, or visit the festival website at www.steamfest.ca.

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