WINTERFEST IS COMING!!
Photo by Kyra Hoggan: City councillors Russ Hearne, Kevin Chernoff, and Deb McIntosh, along with Mayor Lawrence Chernoff, senior city staffers Chris Barlow and John Malcolm, greatly aided by Cheryl Hearne and Trish Chernoff, decorate the City of Castlegar float for this year’s Parade of Lights.
Castlegar’s signature community event, Winterfest, is almost upon us, with more excitement and holiday fun than ever before.
Festivities will begin early this Friday at City Hall, with parade marshalling at 5:15 p.m., and the United Way and Lion’s Club offering hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, hot chocolate and other warming goodies beginning at 5:30 p.m. Also at 5:30 p.m., preschoolers will brighten the Spirit Square stage (beside City Hall downtown) with their dancing expertise, an act to be followed up by some holiday rockin’ offered by Supercat Studios (and this reporter’s son, who will be playing electric guitar …bragging rights apply). At 6 p.m., the biggest Winterfest parade in history (called the Parade of Lights for a reason, don’t you know) will wind its way around 13th, past West’s and the Element, then back around City Hall, making sure to loop around twice, so no one misses out on the festive fun. Revellers can keep warm by huddling near the burning barrels downtown, or simply by getting a glimpse of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, as they ride the firetruck until the end of the parade (the sleigh is in the shop, getting fine-tuned for the big night). When the parade is done, the Claus company will take the stage, along with mayor and council, to countdown the exciting tree lighting ceremony. When the city centre is fully aglow with Christmas spirit and twinkly lights, Darlene Kalawsky will announce the winners of the Communities in Bloom winter planter contest. Elaine Ryder Singing group will then serenade the crowd while Santa and the Missusvisit with local kids and hear Christmas wishes … and they might have a goodie bag or two to hand out while they’re at it. Grown ups and kiddies alike can ohh and ahhh as Heidi Smee once again enlivens Winterfest with her oh-so-hot fire spinnning, a perennial favourite form of Winterfest fun. At 6:45 p.m., Gord Turner will grace the City Hall foyer with a resounding reading of The Night before Christmas, sending the kids home to their beds with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. It’s a night not to be missed, according to Mayor Lawrence Chernoff. “It’s a highlight of the year,” he said. “The Christmas tree alone will have about 1,000 lights, with thousands more in City Hall and Spirit Square. It brings families together and showcases local talent (and international talent, too, counting Santa). What more could you ask for?”