Christmas in Kelowna

 

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I spent my evening last night at a Christmas party with some writer friends. Since we are all people who tell stories, we gathered around and told the stories of our personal Christmas traditions.

My traditions paled in comparison to the stories of shoe-shining in Hungary and pinatas in Mexico and buckets — yes, you read that right — of wine in Romania, so I didn’t regale everyone with the fact that my December 3rd birthday is historically the day we decorate our tree and my mother’s December 24th birthday sees the entire family — believers and non — at church. Christmas day itself is a free-for-all of sanctioned gluttony and gift-giving and playing with new toys / reading new books / watching new videos.

My fondest memories of Christmas, however, happen in the weeks leading up to the main event, when as a child my grandfather taught me to bake. This is a tradition which continues on, as annually I re-create his recipes for the hordes to devour between breakfast and turkey.

Beyond the gatherings of family and friends, the maxing out of plastic at malls, the gorging on feasts, and the celebration of faith traditions, Christmas is a season full of many fun events. Here are some I recommend: Continue reading “Christmas in Kelowna”

Kelowna Farmers Market

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I walk onto the grounds of Kelowna’s Farmers Market after leaving my car in a shady spot at Orchard Park shopping centre and jaywalking across Dilworth Avenue. Unless you count Granville Island Market, I’ve never been to a farmers market, and I don’t fully know what to expect.
The day is warm, although smoke from forest fires burning to the North are fuzzing Kelowna’s horizon with haze. There are air quality warnings, but I’m not smelling smoke, my throat feels fine, and I think the haze may even work to my advantage as it reduces the sun’s glare from the photos I intend to take.

Walking in, I pass a rack full of locked bicycles. One has the rider’s helmet snapped onto the bike lock chain, and I think fond thoughts about living in a city where it is safe to leave your helmet with your bike. This, I think, would not have happened at Granville Island.

Two women stand talking under the shade cast by a maple tree. I pass them and head toward the bright red tent with a bold-font banner advertising HENNA! on the side. Inside the tent, a woman who looks right for the part paints the hand of a young girl in a pink ballcap and pink shades. I snap a quick picture, and my attention is immediately diverted to the teenage juggler performing for a group of spell-struck children. As I watch, one of the girls steps forward and drops a coin into his hat.

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“Thank you,” says the juggler without breaking stride. He switches from balls to pins, and another child asks, “How did you get so good at that?”

“A lot of practice,” says the juggler, then stops temporarily as his young audience is pulled away. Continue reading “Kelowna Farmers Market”

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