Romancing the Desert
It’s not easy to build romance in the desert, but the annual Romancing the Desert Gala held at the Osoyoos Desert Centre certainly makes an attempt. Wine, gourmet food and a moonlit desert sky set the mood for a Summer evening to never forget. If this event is not of interest, try the following romantic gestures: cuddle with Mother Nature at a Haynes Point Provincial Park campsite, frolic in Lake Osoyoos or sing to the birds at the Osoyoos Lake Oxbows. Living in the desert may be hard, but it can be more fun than when John Carmichael Haynes first settled the area to make a new home.
Festival of the Grape
The Festival of the Grape is annual event at which wineries, wine vendors and wine-lovers may gather to hail the Fall grape harvest. Celebrations become even more festive when there has been ideal grape-growing weather: a hot late Summer and Fall with cooler overnight temperatures. In this case, festival attendees can raise a toast to riper fruits and better tasting wine. Live entertainment at the Festival of the Grape get the juices of all attendees flowing while a good, old-fashioned, grape stomp allows willing participants to create some. About 30 area wineries are on hand with samples of wines to taste, some from the wine crawl route between Oliver to Osoyoos. Local cheese and food vendors also compete for the attention of palates at the festival that is held in Oliver, BC, North of Osoyoos.
Half the fun is eating the cherry, the other is seeing how far it’s pit can be spit at Osoyoos’ Annual Cherry Fiesta that is held in July. Each Canada Day, the town’s downtown parks come alive with events such as a pancake breakfast, children’s games, a pie eating competition, and more. The fiesta celebrates the kick-off to cherry harvest and also crowns a new Miss Osoyoos. An evening fireworks display caps-off the day and can be viewed from the Anarchist Mountain Lookout, Haynes Point Provincial Park and other locations along the Lake Osoyoos lakeshore.
Bluegrass and Country Festival
Osoyoos’ parks are used for both recreation and to host events such as the annual Bluegrass and Country Festival held in August. For four days, the banjo’s twang and harmonica’s wine fill Desert Park and might drown out the sounds of Fore! coming from golfers at the nearby Osoyoos Golf & Country Club. Visitors may either come to listen only or bring their own instruments and join in the numerous ‘jam’ sessions that take place during the festival. This event is a great one for those who love music and would rather RV than stay in a hotel as it accommodates self-contained RVs.
Life that can survive in the desert is celebrated at the annual Meadowlark Festival’s events in Osoyoos every May long week-end. Sage Thrashers and other area birds don’t have the luxury of perching themselves safely in a hotel room. The South Okanagan Grassland’s rare and endangered plant and animal life don’t have their meals served to them at a restaurant like its human visitors do. Members of the Osoyoos Indian Band have historically harvested roots, berries and teas from the desert in order to survive. The annual Meadowlark Festival lets nature lovers take guided tours of Osoyoos’ natural environment to learn what it’s like to be a bird, snake or human trying to survive in the desert. Visitors to Osoyoos can continue to explore life in the desert at the Osoyoos Desert Centre and Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre once the festival is over.
Okanagan Wine Festivals
Four annual Okanagan wine festivals 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.