Okanagan Wine Festivals
Kamloops and the Thompson-Okanagan region is wine country: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Four wine festivals during the year mix wine tours, wine tasting and wine seminars with great entertainment and fabulous restaurant cuisine. wineries, restaurants and resorts tease drooling senses with tastes and aromas that come straight from the vine and stir the Soul. Buds come out in May at the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival and so do wine lovers who wish to celebrate over fine wine and culinary tours. Gourmet meals fill hungry bellies on a hot August week-end of arts, music and other activities at Silver Star Mountain Resort during the Okanagan Summer Wine Festival. Sipping a glass of Okanagan wine is just a divine way to celebrate grape harvest while enjoying the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival’s food and festive atmosphere. The Winter air is fresh high atop sunny peaks while the Icewine is crisp and refreshing at the annual Okanagan Icewine Festival that is full of eating, education and snowy recreation.
Gun and Antique Show and Sale
For two days in May, McArthur Island Park in Kamloops is home to the annual Gun and Antique Show and Sale as well as the Custom Knife Show. Perhaps some of the guns on display were once used by Bill Miner to rob a train just outside of Kamloops in the late 19th Century. Ancestors of wildlife now preserved in the BC Wildlife Park may have been hunted and cleaned with knives also on display at the show. The annual Gun and Antique Show and Sale is great fun for those who would prefer to hunt for antique weaponry rather than tour and taste Okanagan wine at a wine festival. It may be necessary to store any purchased antiques behind the front desk back at the hotel before heading out on a Heritage Walking Tour of Kamloops' many sites.
Annual Old Time Fiddle Contest
The Tournament Capital of Canada is a foot stomping, toe tapping, hollerin’ good time at the annual Old Time Fiddle Contest each May. Anyone who can hold a tune and play the fiddle may enter this competition to show-off his or her stuff. This all-day contest serves light refreshments only, so it’s necessary to pack some food or buy meals at one of the many nearby Kamloops restaurants. There are also many hotels and motels within earshot or driving distance of the contest site. Cowboy boots that are purchased at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival will come in handy for the dance that follows the presentation of awards to fiddle contest winners. Tickets to this popular event can go faster than the Thompson rivers during Spring thaw and should be purchased beforehand in case it becomes sold out.
Local artists and retailers combine to create a wonderful opportunity for shoppers to browse for fishing rods, whitewater rafting gear and local art at the same time. Participating local artists are provided an opportunity to display their art in a local retailer’s storefront for up to four weeks in the Spring or mid-Summer. A work of art may be a painting of the Thompson Rivers, Secwepemc First Nation carving or a pen-ink sketch of a Bill Miner. Kamloops history buffs may instead take a Kamloops Heritage Walking Tour to learn more about the sites and people which had an influence on Kamloops' development as a city. The Kamloops Heritage Patrol is pleased to answer questions and provide directions to walkers who lose their way.
Children's Art Festival
The wine festival may be for adults, but Kamloops’ annual Children’s Arts Festival held in the Fall is an attraction for the whole family. Workshops on mask-making and belly-dancing provide kids of all ages with a wonderful outlet for releasing creative energy. The legend of Bill Miner may not be told, but children gather around in the story-telling tent and hang on every word of fun and exciting stories. Budding young artists may test their creative abilities by attempting various arts and crafts projects at booths in Riverside Park. The Children’s Arts Festival is both a celebration of our children’s creativity and a valuable contributor to the ongoing development of Kamloops’ arts and culture.
Art in the Park
Art in the Park takes place amidst the scenic natural beauty of the Thompson River and nearby mountains in Kamloops. Every Canada Day, thousands of people flock to Riverside Park along the Kamloops Rivers Trail to admire, and buy, arts and crafts made by local artisans. Once a small arts market in McArthur Island Park, today Art in the Park is an important part of Kamloops’ Canada Day festivities. This event is just one example of the Tournament Capital of Canada’s vibrant culture that is fostered by the Kamloops Arts Council.
Kamloopa Pow Wow
Join the Secwepemc First Nation in Tk’emlups, the Shuswap name for Kamloops meaning ‘where the rivers meet’, for a celebration of the Secwepemc heritage. Gather around the Arbour, the circular dancing arena at a Pow Wow, and listen to Secwepemc dancers and drummers tell their people’s story through song and dance. Each dancer wears unique, beautifully crafted ceremonial dress with patterns that have often been passed down through the family. The Kamloopa Pow Wow is held every year for three days in August and visitors to Kamloops are welcome to attend this spiritual event.
Kamloops Cowboy Festival
Saddle-up in Kamloops and celebrate the free spirited cowboys who settled Canada’s western frontier back in the 19th Century. Every winter for three days, the ‘west is best’ at the annual Kamloops Cowboy Festival hosted by the BC Cowboy Heritage Society. If you have ever wanted to learn how to yodel, fit a saddle or dance, come on down to Kamloops. There is plenty of western music and entertainment for all you cowboys and cowgirls at heart. Aspiring entertainers of any age may also showcase their poems and music in the Rising Star Showcase competition. Don’t miss this good, old-fashioned western showdown; hurry and purchase tickets to attend the Kamloops Cowboy Festival that takes place at Forster's Conference Centre and the Calvary Community Church.