Lillooet is looking forward to a busy “bop ‘til you drop” weekend with all the fun-filled activities on tap for the fifth Apricot Tsaqwem Festival.
Festival coordinator Carol Vanderwolf says her committee of volunteers, including Barb Tuemp, Lucie Scotchman and Nicole Palfy, has been busy since this spring planning the event, which grows in popularity every year.
“We all work as a group and if somebody needs help, we pitch in,” said Vanderwolf. “We have to make sure it’s a success, because this is Lillooet’s big festival.”
A new feature for this year is the garden/farm tour showcasing five “secret” gardens and farms ranging from hobby farms to garlic farms. Admission is by donation and schedules for the self-guided tour will be available at the Farmers Market on Saturday. The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. Vanderwolf did say Fort Berens is included on the tour and a guided tour of the vineyard and winery will be offered.
Friday’s events open with the first day of a two-day Farmers Market in its regular location in the empty lot across from the Post Office. Vanderwolf said more than 30 vendors are registered for the market.
The colourful and creative Lillooet Quilters’ Guild Quilt Show is open Friday and Saturday at St. Andrew’s United and St. Mary’s Anglican Church Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The wine-tasting room at Fort Berens Estate Winery will be open all three days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Highlighting local aboriginal culture, Xwisten Experience Tours at Bridge River offers tours Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the s7istken (pit house) at T’it’q’et will be offering tours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. To book a Xwisten Experience Tour, please call 250-256-7844 or 250-256-7423.
Local miner and storyteller George Vanderwolf will be leading Jade Walk Tours, leaving from KC Health and Gifts at 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Dinner Friday will be served at the Lillooet Friendship Centre, with Beef Wellington or Salmon Wellington on the menu for the sit-down feast. The cost is $20 a plate and dinner starts at 5 p.m. “It’s gorgeous, first-class and lovely,” says Vanderwolf. “Everybody should come; it’s great.”
She advises people to bring a lawn chair and then head for a post-dinner concert at the Miyazaki House at 7 p.m. Blu Hopkins, playing everything from blues to bluegrass, is the featured act Friday night.
To top off the evening, the Legion will be hosting a Karaoke night at 9.
Saturday kicks off with a Pancake Breakfast at the Elks Hall at 8 a.m. Homemade apricot syrup and tsaqwem syrup will be ready for pouring on the flapjacks.
Next on the schedule is the Farmers’ Market, opening again at 8:30. Fun events there on Saturday include the Apricot Spoon Race and the Apricot Toss, face-painting and the Apricot Cook-off at noon featuring the best and most delicious apricot recipes devised by local chefs.
Anyone wanting to work off the morning’s pancakes can tee off at the Apricot Scramble Golf Tournament, which gets underway Saturday morning at 10 at the Lillooet Golf Course.
The classic cars will be all shined up and ready for inspection when the Route 99 Show ‘n Shine opens at 8 a.m. It runs until 2 p.m. on the REC Centre lawn.
The Camel Race on the REC Centre lawn will be run after the Show ‘n Shine closes and its vehicles are driven away. The Camel Race winner earns the prestigious John C. Calbraith Memorial Trophy, $250 cash and one year’s bragging rights, value: Priceless.
Steak dinners will be served at the Legion Saturday evening starting at 5. Baked potatoes, corn-on-the cob, salad and chicken (for non-steak lovers) are on the menu. Tickets are required.
There’ll be dancing in the street for young and old at one of the highlights of the festival - the District of Lillooet-sponsored street dance Saturday night on Main Street. Whiskey Jane, Ken McCoy and the Chris Buck Band all return by popular demand for the always-popular dance. Vanderwolf estimates approximately 500 people participated in last year’s dance.
Sek’wel’was Cayoosh Spawning Grounds tours will be offered on Sunday, starting at the spawning channel behind Lightfoot Gas. For tour times, please call 250-256-4136.
Vanderwolf said last week the organizing committee will be “go-go-going” this week, putting all the final touches on the festival and dealing with any little last-minute glitches.
“We may as well be living on New York time, because it’s just run-run-run from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. It’s all Apricot Festival,” said Vanderwolf. “We start at 4 o’clock in the morning on Friday and end our day at 11. It’s the same on Saturday.”