Making the most of the season

Kickoff to local festive season is happening this evening in Castlegar

A great time for the younger crowd is a given at Castlegar's Winterfest.

A great time for the younger crowd is a given at Castlegar's Winterfest.

Today is the day for Castlegar’s 16th annual Winterfest!As of 5 p.m. the downtown core is expected to bulge with the presence of hundreds of merrymakers – all happy to be helping with the community’s festive kickoff!

The Parade of Lights goes at the crack of six making two passes from Pharmasave (Columbia and 3rd Street) to Kootenay Critters (Columbia and 13th Avenue).The Tree Lighting and visits with Santa take place at City Hall Spirit Square at 6:30.

In the meantime celebrants can simply mill throughout the downtown core and enjoy the festive ambience.

On that topic, Pam McLeod of the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce (a major sponsor of the event along with Zellstoff Selgar; FortisBC; the Castlegar and District Recreation Department and the City of Castlegar) says the event is growing in popularity.”It’s definitely gaining momentum over the years, with more participation,” she said, “not only with businesses stepping up to enter the parade, but with residents as well.”

Particularly gratifying to McLeod and others is the demographic showing up to celebrate – not just parents and kids.”Last year we found that there were a lot of people who were in their late 20s and early 30s. They were showing up with their groups of social networks just to be a part of the event. It was really nice to see.”

Organizers can only hope for the trend to continue this time around with a wholesome event for all ages… illuminated by twinkling festive lights. Castlegar’s Winterfest also enjoys generous sponsorship by Columbia Power; RHC Insurance Brokers and A&W.

* Please note:Columbia Avenue will be closed to traffic in the following locations, December 2 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.:6th Street to 2nd Street. Please use 6th Street/ 9th Ave. and 2nd Street to bypass. From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.: 13th Ave. to 3rd Street – please use 13th Ave. to bypass.