Vernon Winter Carnival mascot jopo made an appearance during the first intermission of the Vernon Vipers game Saturday night at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Carnival in Wonderland ready to roll

The 58th annual Vernon Winter Carnival officially begins Friday

The wonder of Vernon’s annual wintertime event starts this week.

The 58th annual Vernon Winter Carnival – with its theme of Carnival in Wonderland – runs Friday through to Feb. 11, though the unofficial kickoff is Thursday night with the Proclamation of the new Queen and Princess Silver Star, who will received their tiaras and sashes from outgoing royalty Queen Jordynne Tomiak and Princess Meghan Townley.

“I saw a couple of the girls over the weekend and they’re very excited that things are moving forward toward Proclamation,” said Carnival chairperson Deb White.

Proclamation runs Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre and there are still tickets available.

Nine events are already sold out: Suds and Cider; the Downtown Vernon Association’s UnWined Downtown and ninth annual Chili Cook Off; Mother/Daughter Tea; Pinot and Paint; and the four showings of the musical comedy dinner theatre Wonderland Retirement Home at the Schubert Centre.

Tickets are available for all other events (at the Carnival office on 35th Avenue or online at including the Jopo House luncheon Thursday and Friday at the Schubert Centre. Cost is $27 which includes a buffet lunch and music provided by Cod Gone Wild, who are also the host band for Irish Pub Night Saturday at the Vernon Rec Centre.

Tickets are also available for the Winter Break Out Wednesday from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Schubert Centre. Tickets are $10.

The Carnival office will also be open Saturday, likely from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for ticket purchases as well as Carnival buttons.

If you don’t have your Carnival button, you could land in the Carnival jail.

“You will see the jail around the city more this year,” said White. “If you don’t have a button, prepare to be arrested.”

The always popular Vernon Winter Carnival Parade runs Saturday at noon, heading south on 27th Street from MacDonald Park, turning right on 30th Avenue and heading west to 31st Street before it turns right and finishes north at the Civic Arena parking lot.

The weather forecast is calling for light snow on Saturday.

“At last count we had close to 105 entries,” said White.

One of the big changes for Carnival is the always popular hot air balloon fiesta moves from opening weekend to the last weekend of Carnival.

The North Okanagan Hot Air Balloon Society has taken over the event and they found they could get more people coming on the second weekend which coincides with the B.C. Family Day long weekend.

“There are 14 balloons scheduled to be here this year,” said White.

There are many family events, many free events, and there really is something for everyone at the annual Vernon Winter Carnival.

“I can’t believe it’s here already,” said White.

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