Light up weekend proves encouraging for local businesses

Visitors from outside the area helped make Light Up weekend a success for area venues


Keremeos residents spent a chilly evening watching the annual Light Up parade on Seventh Avenue, December 6.

It was one of the colder events in recent memory, with spectators noticeably fewer than in previous years.

Icy patches on the streets didn’t help those navigating on foot, either.

Still, several hundred lined the streets to welcome the Christmas season with a parade containing roughly the same number of floats as last year. Seventh Avenue was a brighter place this year with the opening of two  businesses on the north side of the business section.

“It went well,” said parade marshall Marie Marvin.

“There was some confusion over the start time of the parade, which left a few people out in the cold for longer than they would have liked, but, considering the weather, there was a good turn out.”

Start time of the parade had been publicized as beginning at 5 p.m., but things did not get underway until after 5:30, as some parade participants were given a later start time.

Many spectators took advantage of the generous offerings of several businesses, including Seventh Street Diner and Country Wine Seller, who offered hot beverages during the parade.

One of the busiest locations  on Seventh Avenue was the front sidewalk of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, where a table generously laden with desserts and hot drinks  was steadily surrounded by spectators looking for a boost against the bone chilling temperatures.

Similkameen Country held a very popular craft fair at Victory Hall this year, with every table utilized. The fair was particularly busy Friday night, with traffic down Saturday, most likely due to the uncomfortable cold weather.

Forbidden Fruit’s Steve Venables reported an excellent turnout Sunday for Similkameen Wineries Christmas wine tours, which took place on the weekend.


“Saturday was brutal,” he said, but Sunday was up 15 per cent over last year.”

Venables said that Forbidden Fruit hosted visitors from all over the Okanagan on the weekend, including a number of visitors from Prince George, and even one couple from California.


“So much depends on the weather this time of year.  We were pleased,” Venable said of the weekend business.

Grist Mill manager Chris Mathieson was also happy with the weekend turnout for a number of events at the mill, including Sunday brunch and a weekend of kids crafts.

“Our weekend was pretty well attended,” Mathieson said, “Sunday brunch was packed – we had 70 people.” Mathieson said a number of brunch guests came in the form of groups from the Okanagan. They were coming not only to eat, but to take in Cawston Theatre Players’ Christmas play, “Hotel Bethlehem.”

Mathieson said approximately 150 people visited the mill on the weekend. The kids craft fair held on Saturday and Sunday, offered children an opportunity to make a number of different Victorian era crafts, including such things as pop up cards and personally created wrapping paper.

Light Up Awards

Best Decorated Business –  Plaques  donated by  Dave Rowe Life  First Place – Valley First Credit Union,  Second Place – Valu Plus and Third Place  – Branding Iron

Parade Prizes

Best Christmas Bell Theme – $100 cash donated by Similkameen Country –  Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church

Best Comedy –  $50 Gift Certificated  donated by Don & Anna’s Greenhouses –  Snowmobile Club

Best Commercial Entry – $50  gift certificate  donated by  the Keremeos Review –  Winery Association

Best Non Profit Entry –  $50 cash  donated by Similkameen Insurance Agencies –  Red Hats Similkameen Silverettes

Best Youth – First prize – $25 cash donated by Orchard Blossom Honey –  Lower Similkameen Indian Band

Best Youth Second prize – $15 cash donated by Orchard Blossom Honey –  Phamasave

Best Youth Third  prize – $10 cash donated by Orchard Blossom Honey – Cawston Primary School

Peoples Choice –  voted by those that attended the parade

Peoples Favourite – $50 Gift  Card  donated by Phamasave –  Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church


Peoples Favourite Youth Entry – $25 cash donated by  K Mountain Auto and Repair – Cawston Primary School