October in the Okanagan Valley
Fall is finally here and it's an absolutely gorgeous time in the Okanagan. There are plenty of seasonal festivals happening from the north to the south end of the valley, and you'll still be able to scoop up lots of delicious goodies at the local farmer's markets before they wrap up near the end of the month. Of course, you'll also find festive activities scattered throughout the region in the weeks leading up to Halloween which include scary corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and other spooky and fun events, like Vernon's Treat Trail (perfect for the kiddos).
Listed below you'll find my roundup of interesting October happenings in and around the Okanagan - everything from food festivals to painting classes (with wine!) to finding your perfect jack-o-lantern. As always, if you happen to check out any of these events please let me know in the comments below.
The historic O'Keefe Ranch just north of Vernon is a well-preserved site that represents the beginnings of settlement in the Okanagan Valley. In October, you'll find it home to the Field of Screams, a haunted corn maze open on select dates in the evenings. This years theme? Dante's eery Inferno.
There are two mazes to choose from and admission is $10 per maze. Note that the Field of Screams isn't suitable for young children but they do have a daytime corn maze which is meant for the whole family.
The Okanagan International Festival of Animation is an annual five-day animation and digital media event, market, and conference set to launch in October 2017 in Kelowna, British Columbia, right in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. This new event will offer animated and digital media screenings that include independent and larger budget productions, blockbusters, commissioned and non-commissioned films, and student work. These screenings will be interwoven with a range of events including opening and closing galas, an awards ceremony, a guided walk through the downtown Kelowna, and a career day where aspiring animators and artists can have face time with world-class animation schools, studio recruiters, and industry professionals.
This month, the pumpkin patch at Davison Orchards in Vernon is full of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes that are ready to be picked and carved into your very own jack-o-lantern. Throughout October, you can celebrate the autumnal season at the farm by choosing your pumpkin, picking up some fresh apples from their market, or just enjoying a coffee on the cafe patio.
From October 13 - 30, more than 10 local restaurants and pubs in Downtown Vernon are offering a limited-time 3-course menu featuring local ingredients prepared by Okanagan chefs. I first took part in a similar food festival when I was living in Vancouver and I absolutely love them (they've now spread all across the province - check the local tourism board website for the area you live in or are visiting for dates)!
Not only do these types of events encourage locals and visitors to go out and support their local economy, but it also invites people to try new restaurants, local cuisine, and provides great value for your money. Here's this years list of participating establishments.
It may be October, but the Farmer's Markets in the Okanagan Valley are still on until the end of the month. The mornings are now sure to be chillier so bring along a woolly sweater to stay warm while you shop for what remains of fresh fruits and local vegetables this fall. Be sure to visit the markets to stock up on hearty goods like potatoes, root vegetables, and apples before the winter months really kick in. There are smaller markets sprinkled throughout the valley, but the largest are in Penticton, Kelowna, and Vernon.
Painting and wine? Sounds like a perfect pairing! At Evolve Cellars in Summerland you can join in on a painting class where you'll be able to try award-winning local wines while being instructed by an artist. Painters of all skill levels are welcome and supplies are included. The classes usually run about 2.5 hours and cost $139 per person ($99 per person for only the art class).