By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

With every winters return to the Columbia Valley, a beloved community tradition transforms Kinsmen Beach into the backdrop for the Snowflake Festival, Taste of the Valley and the Bonspiel on the Lake.

This year, the Snowflake Festival will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, January 22nd at Kinsmen Beach with skating on the lake and live music by Small Town Revival.

This is the sixth year for the festival, said Theresa Wood, events co-ordinator for the District of Invermere, by email. It started in 2010 when the Olympic torch passed through Invermere.

Residents and visitors alike have continued to celebrate the Snowflake Festival in the Columbia Valley with a series of a family-friendly activities each winter.

We are just celebrating winter and giving everyone a reason to get outside, said Ms. Wood. The Bonspiel on the Lake will be happening during the Snowflake Festival as well. It kicks off at 4 p.m. (on Friday) and people are welcome to come watch.

The Royal Canadian Legion Windermere District Branch will be operating the Bonspiel cook shack with a selection of barbecue essentials throughout the weekend to keep curlers and spectators fed and warm. The 64-team Bonspiel on the Lake is hosted by the Invermere District Curling Centre and runs until Sunday, January 24th.

Ms. Wood added that this years festival will be unique compared to other years because of a new addition.

We are adding the Snowflake Lounge, she explained. A place for people to purchase hot chocolate, coffee and add an adult winter warm-up if they wish.

Between 6 and 8 p.m. on Friday night, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce will be hosting Taste of the Valley, which gives festival-goers the opportunity to purchase passports and sample food from restaurants throughout the entire valley. This year, Pizzeria Mercato, Elements Grill, Copper City Saloon, Horsethief Creek Pub & Eatery, Bears Paw Bar and Grill, Invermere Bakery and From Scratch will be the featured restaurants at Taste of the Valley. While there is no charge to attend the Snowflake Festival, the passports for Taste of the Valley cost $10 and can be purchased on site.

The Snowflake Festival will wrap up with a colourful fireworks display on the lake around 8 p.m.