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Busy weekend ahead in the valleyPosted: January 18, 2012

The Columbia Valley is going to be a happening place this upcoming weekend.

Locals and visitors have three events to chose from, including the 29th annual Bonspiel-on-the-Lake, running Jan. 20-22 at Invermere’s Kinsmen Beach.

As usual, the bonspiel will feature 64 rinks vying to win the world’s oldest and largest outdoor bonspiel title.

Games begin at 4 p.m. on Friday and run until 11:30 p.m., and begin again Saturday morning at what will likely be a chilly 7:30 a.m. and run until 4:30 p.m., ending early so teams can make it to the dinner and dance.

Final games are played on Sunday, with event finals taking place sometime after 3 p.m.

As usual, the warming hut will be located beside the rink, where warm beverages and snacks can be obtained and the cold can get blood flowing again beside the wood stove.

Additionally, Joe Peters Curling Club lounge will be the sight of other merriment and bonspiel moments, including the presentation of prizes to the winners at about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The curling club is always the fall-back zone in case Mother Nature does not wish to allow the lovingly created outdoor ice to be usable but the recent plunge in temperatures and arrival of Old Man Winter, fresh from a hiatus elsewhere in the world, should mean all is a go at Kinsmen Beach.

Also on Friday, Jan. 20 is the Snowflake Festival, billed as ‘family winter fun,’ also at Invermere’s Kinsmen Beach.

Running in conjunction with the bonspiel, which in itself features between 256 and 320 participants, the Snowflake Festival, starting at 6 p.m., will feature booth attractions and live performances, including the band Late.  Also, the hungry will be lucky as the Taste of the Valley, showcasing the talents of some local restaurants, will get underway.

Fireworks will highlight the evening at 8 p.m., though curling will stretch on into the night after that.

Panorama Mountain Village is also getting in on the action, offering free tobogganing from 4:30 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 20. Kids games a-plenty will highlight Saturday, with a Syndicate Rail Jam later on and special dinner planned, as well as a torchlight parade at the ski resort.

Just south in Fairmont Hot Springs, the Fire & Ice Festival adds to the bulk of fun from Jan. 20-22.

The third Annual festival promises to be an exciting weekend of twilight skiing at Fairmont Hot Springs Ski Hill, live music (barbecues, kids’ fun and a Mexican Fiesta gala dinner at the Hoodoos Bar & Grill. The Fiesta dinner ($70/person) includes a six-course meal and wine, a silent auction, salsa band, and more.  Call (250)345-2166 for more information.

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