CHRISTMAS COSTUMES  Fort Steele is renting costumes to the public for this years themed Light Up event on November 19th.Image submitted

CHRISTMAS COSTUMES Fort Steele is renting costumes to the public for this years themed Light Up event on November 19th.Image submitted

By James Rose

Special to the Pioneer

As we say hello to October, so, too, do we start looking forward to the winter season and all of the wonderful holiday activities and events planned for the Columbia Valley. However, not until the Invermere area celebrates its annual community Light Up event on November 19th does the local holiday season officially kick into high gear.

But that doesnt mean the planning process hasnt already begun.

The theme of this years Light Up is A Traditional Mountain Christmas, said organizer Jocelyn Brunner. We did not do a theme last year, but have done something similar in years past. We thought it would be nice to go old school because we live in a world where we are connected through our smart phones and social media, but rarely get a chance to connect in person.

Light Up this year is about old school traditions and making that face-to-face connection. Its a night to spend with your community, gathered around fires, roasting marshmallows, walking through our amazing downtown shops, enjoying local food, carolling, meeting Santa, and watching the parade and the lighting of the tree, she added.

As part of this years Traditional Mountain Christmas theme, Light Up organizers are encouraging all shop owners and staff, plus the event volunteers, to dress in clothing that represents the pioneering era of 1890. Costumes are available to rent from Fort Steele for $20. Anyone who wants a costume can visit Frances at Avenue in downtown Invermere by October 15th and she will measure and order your costume for you, which will be ready for pick-up prior to the event at the store. Costumes are limited and are on a first come, first served basis.

The success of this community event depends upon an amazing team of volunteers. Contact Theresa Wood at [email protected] if you can contribute in any small way, said Ms. Brunner. There is much to do in advance of the event and Theresa is starting early. There will be eight volunteer committees, each committee will have a leader and Theresa will be there to help with each one. If you are interested in leading a committee, please let her know.

The schedule of events for the celebration is as follows: 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Santa at the Invermere Best Western; 5 p.m. Santa Claus Parade; 6 p.m. lighting of the tree at the Cenotaph; shopping and dining specials throughout the day.

As in years past, there will be numerous fire pits at the event with straw bales for seating and marshmallows for roasting.

We have asked local businesses to volunteer to supervise each fire pit. We have already had a handful of businesses volunteer, but need a couple more to ensure the pits stay lit throughout the event. If you would like to supervise a pit, please contact [email protected], said Ms. Brunner.

As the date for Light Up 2016 approaches, more information will be posted on the Facebook Invermere BC Events page and advertisements will appear in the local papers.