The start of the 2013 Creston Valley Blossom Festival parade.

The start of the 2013 Creston Valley Blossom Festival parade.

Themed ‘From packing sheds to flower beds’, Creston Valley Blossom Festival offers fun for all

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Creston’s largest funfest of the year will be happening for the 73rd time when the Creston Valley Blossom Festival runs May 16-19.

It kicks off with the grand opening ceremonies, the announcement of this year’s citizen of the year, and the Blossom Festival Talent Showcase, which will feature the five performers chosen by a selection committee, and one of those taking part will receive $500 based on a vote by audience members. If that isn’t enough, an all-star band, the Carltones, headed by Carl Erickson and featuring trumpeter Don Clark and assorted friends, all of whom are musicians with a Creston connection.

May 16 is the date of the show, and tickets ($15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under) are on sale now at Black Bear Books and the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The busiest day of the festival always is Saturday. The day begins with the Creston Lions Club signature breakfast at Sunset Seed Co., where $5 gets you two fried eggs, two sausages, two pancakes and coffee or juice. Meanwhile, a small army of volunteers gets up early to map out and organize the floats, bands, clowns, church groups, classic cars, antique cars and farm equipment that comes together just before 11 a.m. for the mammoth parade that begins in front of the Creston Valley Motel and heads down Canyon Street to the Overwaitea Foods parking lot. This being an election year, look for parade appearances by a wide variety of politicians all vying for your vote this fall.

The long running Lions Street Fair will be underway on 11th Avenue just north of Canyon Street in the Spirit of Creston Square from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Lions have partnered with the Thearapeutic Activation Program for Seniors the last two years so that the net proceeds stay working in Creston. If you are a Lego lover, drop down to the chamber of commerce as the Lego challenge goes from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The winners will honoured Monday afternoon in Centennial Park.

The Creston Valley Farmers’ Market on Cook Street will be in full swing on Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p,m. behind the chamber of commerce.

One thing the Blossom Festival doesn’t do is forget our younger citizens, you know, the ones who represent our future. From noon-4 p.m., the parking lot of the College of the Rockies will the site of the Kidapalooza by Success By Six, featuring a variety of children’s fun games, including bouncy tents and face painting.

The older youth aren’t being overlooked either. Last year, they put on a very successful dance in Millennium Park so their hardworking committee of volunteers is looking to grow the event this year. Once again, popular DJ Robin will be spinning the music. At noon in the parking lot behind the Millennium Park stage, they are staging a carnival featuring a most unusual beer garden — this is a root beer garden, in case anyone gets the wrong impression.

The Blossom Festival weekend is also special for the Lower Kootenay Band, which will be holding the 24th annual Yaqan Nukiy Powwow all weekend. Times are posted elsewhere in this section.

If you still have an appetite, and you should, on Sunday head over to the Holy Cross Catholic Church hall for the Knights of Columbus western breakfast, which runs from 8 a.m.-noon. Scrambled eggs, Texas toast, hash browns and much more are available.

The action shifts to Canyon Street on Sunday for the classic car show. Again, car buffs will be looking for that shiny red Mustang convertible, that sleek green Chrysler Viper or the Corvette or vintage MG. There will also be a sizeable collection of vintage vehicles, from convertibles to sedans and coupes. No car show would be complete without some antique cars that have been restored.

A cherry pie-baking contest will be held in the Spirit of Creston Square. The Lions Club, meanwhile, will have its food wagon selling fresh hot chili and chilidogs. Also on Sunday is the 100-kilometre yard sale and swap meet, which could become an annual event if it catches on. Sunday night is the all faiths church service taking place in the Prince Charles Theatre at 7 p.m.

Monday is the day of the children’s parade. They muster behind CIBC at 10:30 a.m. At 11 a.m., led by the Creston RCMP, the parade heads down Canyon to the Royal Bank where it disperses. The fun isn’t finished as the Lions food wagon will be in Centennial Park and a variety of hot items will be available for sale. Each kid in the parade gets a ticket for one free hotdog. Games are planned, so it should be a fun afternoon.

Also on Monday, the action shifts to the Creston Valley Airport with a chance to see the airport or enjoy some great food while you check out the planes.

Yes, from packing sheds to flower beds the 2014 Blossom Festival is certainly worth a look!

—BY HUGH JOHNSTON