Hot air balloons float above Vernon Saturday for the annual North Okanagan Hot Air Balloon Society's Balloon Festival as part of the Vernon Winter Carnival. (Matt Boos photo)

Carnival packs a wonder

EDITORIAL: 58th annual Vernon Winter Carnival a big success

A year of planning, and 10 days go by just like that.

The 58th annual Vernon Winter Carnival, with its delightfully playful theme of Carnival in Wonderland, wrapped up Sunday.

From the Proclamation of Vernon’s new royalty to kick off festivities, to the annual parade, hot air balloon festival and a myriad of events in between, the Winter Carnival provides a chance to lose the winter doldrums for nearly two weeks.

Carnival directors make sure there’s events for all ages, from Lego building, mother-daughter teas, to a psychic fair, and, of course, adult events like Suds and Cider and Irish Pub Night.

There’s also free events for families that are appreciated and well attended.

This year, residents of Greater Vernon and visitors from surrounding communities, around the province or from destinations outside B.C., had a chance to partake in a theme that left the interpretation of Wonderland up to a person’s imagination.

There were probably more Mad Hatters, Alices and Ice Princesses than organizers could have imagined. One journalist could be seen dressed as Stevie Wonder, playing a child’s keyboard, at a Carnival reception; two dances were billed as Rockland Wonderland (a tribute to Canada’s Kim Mitchell who had a hit record with that song) and Boogie Wonderland (a salute to the disco era).

Often times, volunteer boards take a lot of criticism for things they do, or don’t do, but kudos should be directed to the Vernon Winter Carnival board. As we endure yet another long, dreary Canadian winter, Vernon’s annual winter break-out gives us a chance to cut loose. And when it’s over, spring, really, is just around the corner.

Here’s looking forward to the unthemed (as of today) 59th annual event in 2019.