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As you make plans to explore British Columbia, set your GPS for cities like Penticton and Kamloops, both pleasant destinations in central BC. When you're looking for uniquely Canadian fun, head for any one of these impressive festivals. From the Valemount Winter Festival in Valemount, to the TransRockies Challenge in Revelstoke, you'll no doubt make some incredible memories on your next visit into BC.
Typically held the second weekend in March, the Kamloops Cowboy Festival produced by the BC Cowboy Heritage Society – they seek to "promote and preserve the cowboy heritage in BC."
The Kamloops Cowboy Festival is three days long and features events like the Rising Star Showcase at venues like the Calvary Church and the Kamloops Convention Centre. Many residents and visitors of Salmon Arm and Sicamous head to the annual festival.
A popular hot rod and muscle car exhibition. 13 city blocks in downtown Kamloops are closed for the event, allowing you to safely and easily access many of the displays – collector cars, motorcycles, customs, and street rods from local enthusiasts are all on display.
An ideal destination for your winter visit to central BC is Valemount. A charming and accommodating city, Valemount hosts the annual Valemount Winter Festival. Visit in early February to attend the Valemount Winter Festival – you can try your hand at the Snowmobile Drag Races, the Snowmobile Poker Run, or just take it easy at Family Day, the last day of the festival.
Plan on visiting Cranbrook in September for the annual Six in the Stix, a fun and competitive mountain bike event. Whether you choose to participate or serve as a cheering spectator, make your way to the Cranbrook Community Forest in late September for the event. Visit from nearby Fernie.
Keep the mountain bike action alive and well at the TransRockies Challenge in late July. A fun and unique way to enjoy your visit to Revelstoke, the TransRockies Challenge started in 2002, and now is one of North America's biggest multi-day mountain bike races.
Featuring hundreds of different products, each year the Kelowna Hopscotch Festival invites visitors and residents of Kelowna, British Columbia to taste the best scotch, whisky, spirits, and premium beer Canada has to offer. Originally called the Okanagan Food and Drink Festival, the show’s name was changed to align with its sister festival in Vancouver.
Held at the Kelowna Curling Club, the Hopscotch Festival’s main event is the Grand Tasting, which boasts samples of vodka, tequila, gin, rum, in addition to Canadian and international beers, whisky, and a bounty of local cuisine.
A three-day festival held in downtown Penticton, the Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival transforms this eastern British Columbia town into one of the liveliest destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Featuring eclectic performers from across Canada and the United States, including New Orleans, the Hot Jazz festival occupies several venues across Penticton.
Buy tickets now to catch a show - one day, two day and three passes are available. Show times vary, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Be sure to catch the festival's opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Riverboat Cabaret highlight.
Held annually over four mid-July days, the Stomp Motorcycle Rally takes place near the shores of Shuswap Lake in Sicamous and Salmon Arm. Motorcyclists, bands, families, and vendors descend onto the region for four days of bike games, live music and bands, street food, and stunt riding. Families can enjoy the festival-style family event on Main Street, with a kids play area and stunt jumpers, and vendors alongside a closed down Main Street.
Adults look forward to the adults only Stomp Grounds, where big name bands rock into the early morning alongside the large central campfire burning bright. Bookings for this rocking event go to a good cause - profits are donated to many worthwhile charities courtesy of the Summer Stomp Charity Party.
Triathletes from across Canada and beyond mark their calendars for Challenge Penticton, the annual long distance triathlon event. Held in the peak of summer in the eastern British Columbia Rockies, the triathlon crosses imposing but rewarding terrain in the Okanagan region around Penticton.
Whether you are an athlete training for your first race, a veteran runner, or a cheering supporter, you are sure to remember and be inspired by the support and inclusiveness the community of Penticton gives to this event. Athletes can choose between the half race or the legendary main race, which covers a distance for more than 130 miles of swimming, biking, and running.
Held in late summer, the annual Kamloopa Powwow is one of the largest events of its kind, and held in Kamloops in central British Columbia. Events are located at the Secwepemc Pow Wow Grounds along the South Thompson River.
The three-day powwow operated by the Kamloopa Powwow Society showcases Secwepemc heritage through live music and dance, fresh food, and plenty of arts and crafts representing First Nations.