Carnival Traditions

Vernon Winter Carnival


Carnival Themes

Vernon Winter Carnival started adding a theme to the Carnival in 1985. Since then the theme has been an important part of the 10 festival! The theme is chosen by a committee who take in all suggestions from the community!

Tell us your suggestions by emailing [email protected]

Click here to view the carnival themes since 1985!

Carnival Buttons

Since 1961 the Carnival button has been an important tradition of our festival! Each year a new button is printed and sold to the community. Your button represents your Carnival spirit and keeps you safe from being arrested by the Carnival Cops!

Many longtime residents of Vernon have complete collections and sport their buttons during the 10 days of Vernon Winter Carnival.

Queen SiverStar

The Queen Silver Star program was started in 1961 as a way to promote Silver Star Mountain, and Vernon Winter Carnival in both of their first years. Originally the event began as a Beauty Pageant, showcasing the talents of young women in the Vernon Area. Carnival always kicked off with the crowning of the new Queen and Princess Silver Star, traditionally the coronation happened at the Ice Palace. Eventually the program evolved into the Queen Silver Excellence Program, giving young women the chance to learn, develop and enhance existing and new skills, gain volunteer hours and obtain scholarships.

Carnival Mascots

Jopo & Jopette

“Jopo” the Jester’s role in the life of Carnival is to symbolize the happy spirit of Carnival. Jopo first appeared in 1965 and was created by Mrs. John Maynard who thought Vernon should have a character to identify our Winter Carnival. At this time (1965) the Jester did not have a name and a contest was launched. The winning entry was submitted by 12 year old Tina Wunderli, who won $25 for her efforts.

 In the late 60’s acrobatic dancer Karen Smith entertained at the Queen Silver Star Proclamation as the first Jopette, and the two jesters have been a part of VWC ever since! 

Carnival Cops 

 The “Sheriff’s Jail” was introduced to Carnival in 1966 and was run by Vernon Associated Canadian Travellers. the Sheriff was responsible for selling badges and Carnival regalia. Anyone found not wearing an official carnival badge was hauled into the jail until they purchased a button to get out. 

Over time there was a transition from sheriff to Karnival Kop. Mr. Ed Flegel was the first Karnival Kop,  arresting people at Carnival events who were not showing their Carnival spirit. 

During the 1980’s the Kops adopted the bobby and in 1984 the “k’s” were dropped from the Carnival Cops. Throughout Carnival you will see the Carnival Cops delivering buttons, brochures, posters, attending events and making stops with what is now known as the “Arrest the Best” jail, which serves as a fundraiser for the society.