10 must-visit festivals and annual events in Kamloops

The Kamloops art and cultural scene has grown incredibly over the past few years. And, as such, there are now a number of entertaining and culturally-enriching festivals every year, ranging from food and drink through to frightful Halloween nights. No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find something to keep you occupied and learn more about the local culture at the same time. Here are top 10 annual events and festivals in Kamloops.

Boo at the Zoo

A Spirit Bear with golden fur sitting on a rock surrounded by green grass and trees.

If you’re in Kamloops during Halloween with little ones, we thoroughly recommend Boo at the Zoo at BC Wildlife Park. Child-friendly spooky delights include Uncle Chris the Clown, Haunted Enchanted Forest, Haunted Maze, and “The Skeleton in the Closet” story time.

Wildlight

A green train with gold lettering in the dark. There is snow on the ground.

Wildlights is an annual winter celebration at the BC Wildlife Park where families and friends gather to enjoy the beautiful Kamloops scenery complemented by a dazzling lights display. Visitors can take a trip around the park on the Wildlife Express miniature train, warm up around the campfire while sipping on hot chocolate, watch an animal feeding, and be entertained by Uncle Chris the Clown who performs nightly.

Kamloopa Powwow

First Nations from Kamloops dancing

Come celebrate Kamloop’s local Secwepemc tribe at the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Powwow Grounds, at what is one of the largest celebrations of First Nations’ culture and heritage in Western Canada! You’ll learn about the Secwepemc people’s heritage, and be treated to a vibrant display of storytelling, song, and dance. You’ll find the Secwepemc Powwow Grounds just two minutes from the city centre.

Kamloops Pride

Kamloops Pride event with a group of people with multi-coloured flags.

Kamloops Pride is a non-profit organisation in Kamloops that fights for LGBTQ2S+ rights in the wider region. They hold a number of events in the year, with Kamloops Pride being the biggest. The date for 2019’s annual parade has not yet been set but, for the last two years, it has fallen in August in Downtown Kamloops.

Downtown Kamloops Back Alley Block Party

A crowd of people enjoying a back alley party in Kamloops, when the sun is shining.

If locally brewed beers, live music, outdoor games, and an artisan market sounds like your scene – then you need to stop by the Downtown Kamloops Back Alley Block Party. The alleyway lies between Victoria and Seymour Street and runs between 4pm and 10pm.

Kamloops Cowboy Festival

A country and western band playing guitars and singing on stage.

The Kamloops Cowboy Festival has a reputation as one of the best of its kind in North America. Its’ a weekend-long event and includes a Trade & Art Show, daytime entertainment, and a dinner theatre show.

Kamloops Film Festival

If you’re visiting Kamloops in March, you’ll be treated to the fortnight-long Kamloops Film Festival. It all takes place at the Paramount Theatre, including film screenings, opening and closing galas, workshops, and special guests.

Spirit of Christmas Train

Take a whimsical one-hour ride through the wintry Kamloops night on-board an old-fashioned heritage train that is illuminated by lights. On-board you’ll be treated to cookies, and can choose to admire the landscape in the open-air cars, grab a bite to eat in the café lounge car, or even visit Santa.

Ghost Train with Kamloops Heritage Railway

Someone dressed up as a headless historical figure with a fake head in their hands. They are on a green lit train.

Join the crew and passengers of a train that went missing on a dark and stormy Halloween night in 1917. You’ll step on-board a 2,141 steam locomotive consisting of the steam engine, passenger coach 403, café lounge, and caboose, while actors re-enact the story around you.

Kamloops Wine Festival

A woman being served at the bar, with some other people just out of shot. There are three wine glasses.

Wine fiends will love this week-long event full of wine-inspired events. The four wineries in the region – Harper’s Trail, Monte Creek Ranch Winery, Privato Vineyard and Winery and Sagewood Winery – join together in early spring for wine tasting, food and wine pairings, and social events. In 2018, the festival celebrated its 20th birthday and raised money for the Kamloops Art Gallery.

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