By Dan Walton
Since it was first conceived as a means to celebrate the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, the Snowflake Festival in Invermere has continued to embrace winter in the valley through family entertainment on a frozen Lake Windermere.
Kicking off alongside it on the weekend of January 17th through 19th on Lake Windermere at Kinsmen Beach will be the 31st annual Bonspiel on the Lake curling tournament, a hugely popular event.
Since the early 1980s, dozens of curling teams have been returning to the valley for the Bonspiel on the Lake, which spans three days and matches up 64 different teams.
Getting a team into the tournament takes a long time, as demand for the tournament has built up into a lengthy wait list; a team that will be playing in its first bonspiel this year will have waited at least seven years,
said Invermere Curling Club member Rob Dunn, whos competed in 29 of the bonspiels 30 tournaments. When the Olympic Torch was carried through the valley in January 2010, the District of Invermere lit up the valley for the event by hosting the Snowflake
Festival, which has become a seasonal staple in Invermere.
The festival will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, January 17th, when the Lake Windermere Ambassadors will be hosting an interpretive skate and walk Live music is set to begin at 5 p.m., with Pernell Reichert performing onstage. There is no cost to attend.
And children will enjoy the activities that artists from Invermeres Black Star Studios are organizing, as theyll be operating an arts and crafts tent throughout the event.
At 6 p.m., the Taste of the Valley food sampling festival will be underway, where five local restaurants will mobilize themselves onto the frozen lake and serve up their most popular items. Passports for the Taste of the Valley can be
purchased at the event for $10.
You wont leave hungry, said District of Invermere events co-ordinator Theresa Wood. While most of the event will happen during evening hours, the skating rinks, in addition to the curling sheets, will stay illuminated with bright lighting until the Snowflake Festival wraps up after fireworks, which begin at 8 p.m.