Columbia Valley & East Kootenay
Christmastime in East Kootenay
Once again, Christmastime in East Kootenay is right around the corner – that wonderful, incomparable time of the year when everything proudly wears an extra sparkle, when the air is filled with the music of the angels and hearts are tender. We or our friends and neighbors may celebrate other traditions like Hanukkah (Dec 12-20) or Kwanzaa (Dec 26-Jan 1) or the Winter Solstice (Dec 21), but at this special season differences are forgotten and we celebrate the things that connect us to each other – things like love, and family, and hope, and our desire for peace.
The signs of the approaching season are everywhere. Frosty mornings bring out warmly muffled shoppers, bright and colorful decorations are hung along the downtown streets and merchants festoon their shop windows with pine boughs and sparkling lights. ‘Guess Who’ will be arriving very soon! (Hint: the jolly old fellow wears a red suit and has been heard to say a merry “Ho, ho, ho!”).
Each community has its own beloved Christmastime traditions around which it gathers to share the warmth and good cheer. Here are some of the East Kootenay events that take place, from the earliest in November to New Year’s Eve. Mark your favorites on your calendar and be sure to be there!
We here at ColumbiaValley.com / Invermere.com wish all of our wonderful East Kootenay friends, neighbors and visitors the very warmest of wishes for a happy and peaceful holiday season!
The town of Fernie gets everyone into the sentiments of the season with the Elk Valley Festival of Trees and it just gets better and better as Christmas Day approaches:
- Nov. 17 to Dec. 3 – the Elk Valley Festival of Trees Society sponsors the annual Festival of Trees. Visit this dazzling display of 10 of the most spectacular trees and you get to vote on the best!
- Nov. 24 & 25 – Fernie’s annual Twilight and Holiday Craft Fairs at the community centre give you an opportunity to purchase wonderful, locally-made gifts for the important folks on your list.
- Nov. 30 to Dec. 22 – the Arts Station will host the month-long Sugar Plum Festival with theatre, workshops, displays and caroling by candlelight.
- Dec. 1 & 2 – the annual Hearth 7 Pottery Sale features Elk Valley artisans’ beautiful and unique items for gift giving.
- Dec. 6 – Fernie ‘Lights Up the Night’ is a free family event featuring the lighting up of the Court House, a free BBQ, outdoor skating (weather permitting) and more!
- Dec. 11 – the CPR Holiday Train pulls into Fernie and neighboring Sparwood with a show featuring Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Band.
- Dec. 16 – the free Community Christmas Party at the Heritage Library features games, crafts, stories for everyone!
- Dec. 17 -the ‘Tis the Season’ Craft Fair at the Fernie Community Centre gives holiday shoppers a last-minute opportunity to find gifts by local artisans for those special folks who are a wee bit difficult to choose for.
- Dec 31 – There’s a FREE Family New Years Eve event at the Fernie Alpine Resort. It’s a family affair, featuring skiing, sleigh rides and FIREWORKS!
In Cranbrook, preparations are underfoot to make this the best-ever Christmas season. Here are a few events to look forward to:
- Nov. 25 – Santa Claus comes to Cranbrook for the 47th year, with the annual Santa Claus Parade! He’ll arrive in style with his sleigh and his eight reindeer (plus Rudolph, of course), his elves, marching bands and colorful floats.
- Nov. 28 – bring the family to the Key City Theatre to the annual Barra McNeil’s Christmas show to hear this beloved group sing all your favorite songs of the season.
- Dec. 2 – the Symphony of the Kootenays will be presenting their “T’is the Season” concert at Key City.
- Dec. 11 – the annual visit of the CPR Holiday Train to Cranbrook and the nearby community of Jaffray is a great family event. Bring a donation of healthy food for the Food Bank.
- Dec. 17 & 18 – The Christmas Market at the St. Eugene Resort gives last-minute shoppers an opportunity to find something to put a smile on a special person’s face.
Kimberley, a former mining town with a history of innovative tourism marketing, is as beautiful as a picture post-card at Christmastime and folks put their whole hearts into the Christmas festivities. Here are some of the community events that make this a good place to be:
- Nov. 21 to Dec. 23 – get a head-start on your holiday gift list at the Centre 64 Art Gallery’s annual Invitational Christmas Gift Show where you can find original, beautiful and affordable holiday gifts in an ever-changing display of artwork by local and regional artists.
- Nov. 17 & 18 – at Bootleg Gap Golf Course, ‘The Magic of Christmas’ offers beautiful hand-crafted treasures and tasty treats to delight even the hardest-to-please people on your gift list.
- Nov. 18 – ‘Light Up’ evening in Kimberley’s downtown Platzl marks the official beginning of the holiday season, with the arrival of Santa and the music of the Kimberley Community Choir.
- Dec. 31 – The annual FREE Family New Years Eve celebration in the Plaza at Kimberley Alpine Resort features music, entertainment, ice skating, BBQ, beer garden and more!
Canal Flats gets an early start on the season. Community is the focus and everyone gets into the holiday spirit. Here’s what to look for in 2017!
- Nov. 26 – the Canal Flats Civic Centre presents ‘Canadian Country Christmas’ featuring award-winning and country recording artists Sean Hogan, Craig Moritz and Thomas Wade. Get your tickets early!
- Dec. 16 – the Canal Flats Christmas Fair is the perfect place to find some really fantastic last-minute gifts for those hard-to-please folks on your list and the youngsters have fun with plenty of kid-friendly activities.
- Dec. 18 – the annual Christmas Bingo where the prizes are the biggest of the year! Feeling lucky?
Fairmont Hot Springs
This family-oriented community celebrates the festive season with an assortment of free events for the family. Mark these on your calendar and plan on being there.
- Dec 23 – Sing carols by the fireside along with Dos Equis in the lobby at the resort.
- Dec. 24 – The Torchlight Parade at the Fairmont Family Ski Hill is alive with skiers as they move down the dark hillside, each with a torch. It’s dramatic and it’s a very moving for spectators. After the parade, there’s Santa and a fireworks finale.
- Dec 25 – Support the CV Food Bank and enjoy the hot springs on Christmas Day! Bring the whole family.
There’s magic in the air and people begin preparing for the festivities pretty much as soon as Halloween is over. There are some really marvelous events in the Invermere/Windermere area each year. Here are a few to take note of:
- Nov. 11 – The annual Handmade Market at the Windermere Community Hall gets shoppers planning their gift lists early.
- Nov. 18 & 19 -The Winter Wonderland Market at the new Columbia Valley Centre has something for everyone on your list
- Nov. 18 – Santa Clause arrives in town in the Santa Claus parade on Light-Up night, accompanied by colorful floats and seasonal music. When the last float has passed in front of the cheering crowd, the mayor flips his magic switch and the entire downtown comes to life with thousands of twinkling lights – a glorious spectacle – and the countdown to the big day has officially begun!
- Nov. 19 – The morning after Light Up, while the excitement is still high, bring the family to Breakfast With Santa at the Invermere Inn.
- Dec. 1 & 2 – the 25th annual BIG Christmas Craft Sale is always a place to get unique and beautiful gifts for even the hardest-to-please folks on your shopping list
- Dec. 8 & 9 – The Valley Voices will once again be filling the air with the sound of music at their annual Christmas Concert. Listen to your favorite music of the season, both classical and popular at Christ Church Trinity.
- Weather permitting, one of the best places to be during the Christmas season in Invermere is the Lake Windermere Whiteway, a cleared track on the lake where individuals and families skate, skate-ski, Nordic ski or just enjoy a walk in the clear, crisp fresh air.
Radium Hot Springs
The Village of Radium Hot Springs celebrates the season with a focus on family and community and their Christmastime events echo the sentiment.
- Dec. 10 – Children’s Party at the Radium Hot Springs Fire Hall features cookie decorating, music, and a visit from Santa. For ages up to 10.
- Dec. 31 – The Birthday and New Years Eve Celebration is an annual blast of free family fun to say good bye to the old year, welcome the new and wish the Village of Radium Hot Springs a Happy Birthday!
The Golden community gets into the spirit of the season when the CPR Holiday Train stops by so get your Christmas wish list ready!
- Dec. 12 – The CPR Holiday Train makes its way into Golden, with more than a million twinkling lights and bringing Santa and the music of Alan Doyle and the Beautiful Band.
- Dec. 16 & 17- The annual Christmas Craft Faire at the Mount 7 Rec Plex offers holiday shoppers a great opportunity to purchase something perfect for the special people on your gift list and a fresh touch with produce from local farmers.
- Dec 31 – A FREE New Years Eve community celebration at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort makes a huge year-end blast with a torchlight parade, fire shows, performances, live band and FIREWORKS!
Here are some of our favorite annual fairs and festivals. Large or small, they draw friends and neighbors together to celebrate the uniquely beautiful tapestry that is Columbia Valley culture.