TEMPT YOUR TASTEBUDS The Invermere Bakery will be back with its delectable offerings for this year’s Taste of the Valley (pictured here in 2015) along with eight other local restaurants.File Photo

By Eric Elliott

Pioneer Staff

After weeks of chilling cold weather in the Columbia Valley, the highly anticipated Snowflake Festival will be making its return to Invermere on Friday, January 20th at Kinsmen Beach in Invermere.

A free event planned for the whole community, the 8th Annual Snowflake Festival will coincide with the widely popular Taste of the Valley event and the 34th annual Bonspiel on the Lake that will start on Friday evening and carry on into the weekend.

This year, food connoisseurs will be able to enjoy dishes from nine different local restaurants including Elements at Copper Point Resort, Bears Paw and Grill, Invermere Bakery, Cliffhanger Restaurant at Grey Wolf, the Horsethief Creek Pub and Eatery, Pizzeria Mercato, Copper City Saloon, Konig Meat and Sausage Co., and Columbia River Caf.

Those interested in sampling food from all nine restaurants can do so by purchasing a passport for $10 now at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce Office or Candyland in downtown Invermere. The passport allows you to have a sample from each station while also providing coupons to use at the restaurants on your own time after the festival is over dont be late, these tend to sell out quickly. The food will begin being served at 6 p.m., concluding at 8 p.m.

With the weather having been well below freezing for nearly two consecutive months, there should be plenty of ice for people to enjoy with skating and the ongoing Bonspiel tournament. Additionally there will be multiple fire pits set up along the beach so that people looking to just hang out with friends are able to stay warm.

Amongst the skating, curling and general winter excitement, local band Valley Forged will be performing at Kinsmen Beach prior to the fireworks show that will take place at nightfall. Event organizer Theresa Wood said the fireworks show organized by the same group that does the Canada Day show is always one of the highlights for those in attendance.

Everyone likes fireworks, she said. Especially in winter with all the mountains on a clear night, they really highlight the mountains and you can hear the sound echo off them all and its really neat.

In addition to the events traditional activities, WildSafeBC and the Lake Windermere Ambassadors are going to be hosting some family-friendly activities from 2 to 4 p.m.

The WildSafeBC booth will be set up on the beach with information on wildlife activity during the winter months as well as tracking activities. Additionally, families can visit the Ambassadors ice fishing hut for information on what the lake looks like under the ice at this time of year and for colouring activities for the kids.

The main event will kick off at 4 p.m. on Friday and run until about 8 p.m. with the only cost being optional for people who want to purchase Taste of the Valley passports. Ms. Wood said she hopes the weather will remain cold for the event so they can have another successful Snowflake Festival.

If you want a really great small town mountain winter event, come on down because the whole community turns out, she said.