Tara Bowie Rick Wiebe holds a bird he whittled in about 10 minutes at the LightUp craft and vendor fair. Weibe offers a free weekly whittling class at New Beginnings Church and is offering a few different workshops at the Grist Mill.

LightUp kicks off holiday season

The LightUp weekend in Keremeos was the perfect kickoff to the holiday season.

It’s a weekend to meet new friends and say hello to old ones.

Over the weekend, LightUp served as the official kick-off to the holiday season in Keremeos.

From a parade, to Christmas craft and vendor fair, to wine tasting and a pancake breakfast with Santa and more, hundreds of people joined in the festivities.

“It’s been an awesome weekend,” Colleen Christensen, manager of Similkameen Country the Keremeos and Area Chamber of Commerce.

Many of the activities organized throughout the weekend were done so by Similkameen Country and a team of community volunteers.

“Without the volunteers in this community this wouldn’t be possible. People really stepped up to help and that’s what Christmas is all about,” she said with a big smile while selling 50/50 tickets at the craft and vendor fair Saturday.

The craft and vendor fair attracted a record number of tables with everything from jewelry to baked goods to holiday decorations, knitting, woodworking, pottery and even whittling.

Rick Wiebe, a relative newcomer to Keremeos, was on-hand whittling Saturday afternoon.

The former church minister has whittled for about 62 years and loves to teach others about the productive past time.

The wood chips were flying as he made a bird decoration with fanned out wings made out of a small block of Western White Pine.

“It’s been great. Lots of people have come out and asked questions,” he said. “I’m running a few classes and then there’s a free whittling group that’s held Mondays so it’s really great to be able to get out and meet people.”

Wiebe said people asked a lot of questions about tools. His best advice is to take care of your knives and keep them sharp.

“If you don’t have sharp tools nothing works out right,” he said.

Another newcomer to the craft fair was young Haylie Glada who had a table with her grandmother Sue Allen.

The pair worked on decorations and crafts for more than two months to sell.

“It’s been great. People really like it. They really like buying all these things. It’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Half the money the pair raised is going to buy Haylie a puppy. The other half is being used to pay for the supplies that they used to create the crafts.

“It teaches her a lot about business and money and that you need to work for things. It’s a good way for her to learn and it’s been fun,’ grandma Sue said.

Also part of the LightUp weekend was business decorating contest where judges around to participating businesses to take a look at their Cowboy Christmas themed decorations. The skating rink also opened on Sunday. Weather delayed the opening just two days but the hardworking staff was able to get the ice in for Sunday’s official opening. The rink was closed for a few days to allow staff time to put in the lines.

The Keremeos Elks also held a free pancake breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning.

“It’s been a wonderful weekend and I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year,” Christensen said.

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