People of all ages lined Canyon Street during the 2012 Creston Valley Blossom Festival parade

Creston Valley Blossom Festival promises fun-filled long weekend

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Boy, time sure flies when you are having a good time. It is Creston Valley Blossom Festival time again, and once again the residents of the Creston Valley are gearing up for their annual funfest. From May 17-20, residents and visitors can look forward to four solid days of fun for the whole family.

It all begins on Friday evening with the stage show starring internationally-known Juno Award-winning comedian and musician Al Simmons. Local favourite Daniel Huscroft will kick off the show. Also on the program will be the much-awaited citizen of the year presentation put together by the Rotary clubs of Creston. Local politicians will also step forward in a group to officially kick off the 72nd edition of the Creston Valley Blossom Festival. Tickets are on sale now at Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce office, Black Bear Books and at the door.

The Blossom Festival really goes into full bloom on Saturday. Led by the former members of Citizens on Patrol, the parking lot at Prince Charles Secondary School becomes a beehive of activity as the final preparations for the mammoth parade (2012 photos here and here) take place. Spots have to be marked for the various floats, bands, vehicles, dignitaries, clowns and animals. The volunteers start at daylight and work right up to parade time at 11 a.m., when the Royal Canadian Army Cadets pipe band leads the parade down Canyon Street for the journey to Overwaitea Foods, where it terminates. The parade is probably the largest single event of the Blossom Festival. One of the highlights of this year’s parade is the team of Clydesdales pulling a traditional wedding buggy, which should make quite a sight. The good folks at Fort Steele outside Cranbrook are bringing the horses, buggy and crew to Creston. The parade takes about an hour to pass any given point, and the streets, sidewalks will be lined with onlookers. Entrants with floats come from both sides of the border.

The Lions Club has two events on Saturday. From 7-11 a.m. next to Sunset Seed Co., the Lions will be serving their signature breakfast. For $5. you get two pancakes, two sausages, two fried eggs, juice and coffee. Proceeds will be used to finance Lions projects in the community. Just north of Canyon Street on 11th Avenue, the Lions Club street fair will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Exhibitors from across B.C. will join local vendors, featuring a variety of items on sale. Proceeds will be split between the Lions Club and the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.

The 16th Avenue Experience is back with a variety of things taking place. At the College of the Rockies grounds, Kidapalooza, hosted by Success by Six, takes place. This event features games for the kids and face painting, and the little train is returning with rides for the youngsters. In addition, two bouncy tents aimed at different age groups should keep things moving. The event runs from noon-4 p.m.

Millennium Park will be the site for the second annual Music in the Park show. Several local musicians will entertain you and the concert is free. Musicians include Peanut Butter and Jam, Jaxon Peters (a folk singer from Wynndel who will make you think of Judy Collins), traditional country and western singer Slim Anderson, and Rhonda Barter, who plays piano and fiddle, and loves to sing Leonard Cohen and Rita McNeil songs.

The show runs from 1-3:30 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and sit back and enjoy an afternoon in the park listening to some great music presented by some of the best musicians in the valley.

If you get hungry or thirsty, the army cadets will be set up on the north side of the parking lot selling pop, hotdogs and burgers. This location will also serve those taking in the kids’ events at the College of the Rockies, making the 16th Avenue Experience an event not to miss.

On Saturday from 7-11 p.m., Millennium Park comes back to life with a music event for teens from 12-18 featuring a live DJ. A local group of teens is playing a major role in organizing the event the first of what they hope will be the start of more events for young people.

Sunday most of the fun shifts to the downtown area. The day begins with the Knights of Columbus western breakfast at the Catholic Church Hall from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Blossom Festival five-kilometre and 10-kilometre runs begin in Canyon Park at 9 a.m.

On Canyon St., the classic car show runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with over 60 cars on display. The show stretches from Jimmy’s Pub to Shoppers Drug Mart. Cars of a different sort collide together at the demolition derby taking place at the old airport in Kitchener. The action begins at 11 a.m.

The Creston Ministerial Association has moved its worship service to the Prince Charles Theatre at 7 p.m.

On Monday, the excitement is at the Creston Valley Airport at Lister from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Called Wings and Wheels, there will be a breakfast, raffles for airplane rides and a remote control demo by the Creston Cruisers car club.

Monday is also children’s day. The Lions Club’s kids’ parade (2012 photos here) gets organized behind the CIBC at 10:30 a.m. At 11, the parade, headed by the RCMP, heads down Canyon Street to the Royal Bank where it disperses. The children are given tickets for hotdogs and pop, which will be handed out from the Lions Club’s mobile kitchen down in Centennial Park. Local army cadets will be organizing games for the kids and there will be burgers on sale, in addition to hotdogs and drinks. At 12:30 p.m., the lucky button draw will take place in the park with some lucky soul taking home half of the prize money.

Don’t let anyone try to convince you to leave town this weekend. There is a lot to do for everyone the whole weekend, with the Creston Valley Blossom Festival completing 72 years of service keeping Creston on the move.

—BY HUGH JOHNSTON

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