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The extreme South Okanagan was the place to be Saturday for fun and frivolity.
Down at Gyro Park in Osoyoos, on a big grassy area just steps from Osoyoos Lake, singers and dancers and performers serenaded the crowd at the second annual Pride Arts Festival.
Meanwhile 20 kilometers north in Oliver, the seventh annual Cask & Keg Festival saw several dozen breweries, cideries and distilleries get together with hundreds of their biggest fans for an afternoon of fun.
PentictonNow had never been to either, so we figured the two events together would make for a great road trip.
We were right.
We started in Oliver where the Cask and Keg Festival is one leg of the three-legged giant known as the "Wine Capital Weekend."
The event booted up Friday night with the aptly named Kick-Off Party at District Wine Village, continued Saturday with Cask & Keg, and culminated Sunday with the main event, the all-powerful Festival of the Grape.
"This is the ultimate time of year to visit the South Okanagan," said Oliver Tourism Association marketing director Brad Morgan. "The weather is more temperate after the heat of the summer has gone, and we have great events like this.
"And this year we're happy we were able to pull vendors from all over -- Cawston, Osoyoos, Summerland, Kelowna, Naramata, Penticton and of course Oliver and OK Falls.
"Plus right now for our stakeholders, this is an opportunity for increased visitation at the start of the shoulder season."
According to Morgan, the event attracted 20-plus breweries, cideries and distilleries and 30-plus product vendors.
There were musicians, food trucks and a DJ too, and lots of spots to sit and relax.
But the undoubted high point of the day had very little to do with relaxation. It was an idea that got its start at last year's Cask and Keg, and it proved wildly popular. So there was little question it would be back.
"It" is the "Beer Olympics," a series of thoroughly captivating relay races that test not only the speed of anyone brave enough to enter, but their dexterity, strength and coordination too. And their ability to function at least somewhat normally after presumably imbibing beforehand.
Participants signed up in teams of four, and many were costumed.
The event began with a malt sack race, where lead-off contestants jumped into empty sacks of malt and tried to out-hop one another.
The follow-up athletes attempted to zig-zag through a series of wine barrels while balancing trays of half-filled glasses of beer. Not easy.
They in turn handed off to the third group, who rolled weighty beer kegs across the grass.
Entrants on the anchor leg grabbed 25-kilo sacks of malt, threw them on their shoulders, and pounded toward the finish line.
It was just as wild as it sounds, and the crowd ate it up.
In the end, it was, literally, a bunch of clowns from Oliver who emerged triumphant. The victory wasn't expected either.
"We saw the Beer Olympics and we thought it was something a little different," said clown Dustin Michaluk an hour before the event had even begun. "We figured we'd go for best dressed. If you can’t win the entire tournament, we'll win best dressed."
"This'll be out first time doing it," added clown Mary Hoymans. "It just looked like fun."
But when they ended up winning it all, the celebration was on.
For more info on the Cask & Keg Festival, turn here.