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PentictonNow had a pretty wild Friday night. At least by our standards.
It all started in Summerland where we stopped by SummerGate Winery -- two very summery things in the midst of a rather bleak December, but there was a method to our madness.
SummerGate, you see, is part of Summerland's annual "Light Up The Vines" event, a pre-Christmas celebration of the region's extensive adult beverage industry.
Participating this year are sixteen area wineries, cideries and distilleries, all of which have decorated for Christmas and thrown open their doors for one final fling before closing for winter.
Some, like Summergate, have taken it a step further by putting together elaborate outdoor scenes where visitors can warm up around bonfires and grab a bite to eat while tasting.
"We're open in the summer with food on the weekends," said co-owner Mike Stohler, who laughingly calls himself Summergate's "Chaos Controller."
"And this is our last weekend of the year. Plus, three nights a year we put up these Swedish torch campfire logs and they burn all evening."
Also at Summergate were Ron and Beverley Kennedy of Castlegar. The couple makes the trip to Summerland, expressly for Light Up The Vines, every year.
"My mother used to live here," said Ron, "so we were always here to visit, and we always did Light Up The Vines too. It's a great event. We’ve done six wineries tonight and we'll do two tomorrow, then we go back home."
There's just one more chance to catch Light Up The Vines in 2022 -- later today from 3 pm to 7 pm. For more info, go here.
From Summerland, we headed to Naramata, a trip that would be infinitely quicker if someone would just build a bridge across the lake.
By the time we got there, the final night of the 2022 Naramata Christmas Market was in full swing.
Like last year's Christmas Market debut, the event unfolded at the base of Robinson Avenue, adjacent to the Naramata Inn.
"We love the festive spirit and I like to support anything local," said Naramata resident Wayce Bartels, sitting at a picnic table surrounded by young nieces and nephews happily chowing down on samosas from Penticton food truck Samosa Express.
"And the kids love it," she added, telling us something we already knew just by looking at their faces.
Bartels did the market in its inaugural year too, saying she bought "a lot of stuff, too much stuff." This year with her posse in tow, she bought "candies and chocolate" for them and "wine for me because I'm going to need it with these kids."
We later strolled past guitarist-vocalist Bill Small, who told us he generally performs "hits from the 30s, 40s and 50s" and then sounded smooth as glass singing an oldie but goldie as we listened in. Then we dropped by the table of market organizer Naramata Slow.
"Last year was a break-even," said Naramata Slow director Dawn Lennie. "This year we have more vendors (40 in all), so we'll make a bit of money that we'll give back to the community in various ways.
"It's gone really well. We've even had people booking the Inn and local motels and then coming to the market."
Our last stop of the evening was the South Okanagan Events Centre for an 8 pm appointment with the Barenaked Ladies.
More on that here.