The Creston Valley Blossom Festival returns from May 20-23, with events and activities for all ages, marking a milestone in Creston’s history — the 70th annual Blossom Festival.
“There aren’t many festivals left in Canada that can claim being in operation for 70 years with no signs of slowing down,” said Blossom Festival association president Hugh Johnston. “We have survived four wars and economic uncertainty, yet the festival continues to survive each year.”
At the heart of the festival is the Saturday morning parade, which runs from 18th Avenue to the Creston Valley Mall starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, kicked off with a fly-past by the Creston Flying Club.
Throughout the weekend, the Creston Museum is hosting a special exhibit reflecting on the festival’s 70-year history. Photographs, posters, trophies, and more — even a Queen’s robe and tiara — will be on display for the whole weekend.
Other weekend events include:
To kick off the 70th annual Blossom Festival, a stage show starts at 7 p.m. at the Prince Charles Theatre, at which Creston’s citizen of the year will be announced. The evening’s entertainment includes big band music by the Creston Community Band, followed by two-time Juno Award winner Valdy.
The day kicks off with the Lions Club breakfast from 7-11 a.m., followed by the parade at 11.
The Lions Club’s popular street fair, gets underway at 9 a.m. in the Spirit of Creston Square at the corner of 11th Avenue and Canyon Street. It will run until 3 p.m. and will feature a variety of services and products from vendors across British Columbia and Alberta, including some right from the Creston area. The street fair has been part of the Blossom Festival for several years, with the Creston Lions Club being the organizer. Proceeds from the table rentals are used by the Lions for local projects in the Creston area, so it becomes a win-win situation.
The 16th Avenue Experience is an event for the whole family that runs from the College of the Rockies to Millennium Park. Events include the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market, Stephanie’s Treats for the young at heart, and the climbing wall free to anyone brave enough to climb.
In Millennium Park park, popular DJ Vern Gorham will be the MC, with line dancing lessons starting at 12:30 p.m. The Creston Fiddlers take the stage at 1 p.m. Vern Gorham’s Creston’s Best Singers will take the stage around 2, with Fat Charlie, a seven-piece band, ending the show at 4.
On the college grounds, the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors will be hosting outdoor bingo, and surrounding them will be food vendors, artists from the valley and non-profit organizations selling their products. Colleen will be available for palm readings for all those interested to know their future.
The Creston Valley Blossom Festival Kidapalooza will be held on May 21 at the Creston Education Centre (617 11th Ave. S.), from noon-4 p.m. The event will feature fun with Magician Clinton Gray, the Kootenay Children’s Train, the Bouncy Castle and face painting by the professionals from Fun and Fancy Face Art.
On Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in the Creston Room at the Creston and District Community Complex, the GoGo Grannies are hosting the Blossom Festival 70-plus Ladies Pageant, wich will feature a group of ladies, over 70, competing for the title of queen. The judges will be former Miss Crestons from over the last 70 years. The event is dedicated to the late Lela Irvine, a popular mayor, big booster of Creston and a big believer in the Blossom Festival.
Also at 1 p.m., the first annual Great Canadian Rubber Duck race will take place in the lazy river at the Creston and District Community Complex. Sponsored by the Creston Wave Swim Club, you will have the opportunity to cheer your duck onto victory and perhaps get a share in the winnings.
A chili cook-off takes place on Canyon Street across from the Downtowner Motor Inn from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Everyone is welcome to participate, either by cooking or buying a tasting cup to sample chili. For more information, contact Henry at 250-428-3545.
Also, Canyon Street will respond to the roar of engines as the custom car show stretches from 10th to 16th avenues. The cars will be opened for inspection by onlookers, so you can be viewing custom designed souped up cars and antique cars to vintage cars like showroom condition Mustangs, T-Birds, Corvettes, ’55 Chev Belairs, ’57 Chev Belairs and much more. There is a lot of chrome to see!
On Monday, children and their parents are asked to gather near the CIBC on Canyon Street at about 10:30 a.m. to get organized for the children’s parade. You need to be registered and each child will get a ribbon and a ticket for a hot dog and pop down at the Lions Concession in Centennial Park.
At 11 a.m., led by the RCMP, army cadets and the fire department, the children’s parade will head down Canyon to 10th Avenue in front of the Royal Bank, where it will break up. The youngsters will then head down to Centennial Park where the Lions, along with the army cadets, will have games organized and the Lions concession will be offering drinks, hot dogs and Lions burgers for sale.