Last year's King and Queen of Flannel Fest Tim and Simone. This year's event will be held via Facebook live due to COVID-19 and will take place on Feb. 13. Paul Rodgers file.

Flannel Fest to be held virtually this year

One of Kimberley’s most popular annual events, Flannel Fest, is moving into the virtual realm for 2021 and will take place via Facebook Live on Feb. 13.

While people won’t be able to gather together in the Platzl, event planners are doing everything they can to make the online event as special and fun as possible.

Karen Cetinski, who alongside James “Archie” Archibald, serves as coordinator for Flannel Fest, said they decided to take the event to the virtual space because she has a “strong belief that COVID should never win.”

“We can do events, we just have to do them differently so that we make sure that everybody is COVID safe and we’re playing within the realm of Interior Health or the Public Health Office,” she said.

“I think going virtual is going to be a lot better for families, because there’s more activities for the kids to partake in. They’re going to be able to do snow sculptures in their backyard, decorate their front window, decorate a cookie, Flannel Fest. So there’s lots for the kids to do.”

READ MORE: The second-annual Flannel Fest in photos and video

Many of the fan favourite contests from years past will return to this year’s virtual event. For example: has quarantine times inspired you to just let your beard run wild? Or do you perhaps just rock a beard anyways? Well you’re in luck as Kimberley’s Best Beard contest is back.

It’s free to enter and all you have to do is submit a photo of yourself and your beard to before Feb. 12 at 4 p.m.

The only stipulation is you obviously must be wearing flannel in the photo, and holding a sign reading #flannelfest21

Friends and family will get a chance to vote for best beard on the Facebook live event.

Also returning this year is the Snow Sculpture contest, but instead of displaying your frozen artistic endeavours in the Platzl, this year they will be done in your backyard. Once again you must submit a photo including a #flannelfest21 sign before 4 p.m. on Feb. 12.

Another one that’s back but looking a little different is the Kimberley’s Best Beans contest, which this year will be held at the Snowdrift Cafe. More details on that one to follow.

Cetinski explained how she and Archibald have been coordinating the event schedule for the virtual edition of Flannel Fest:

“First of all, whatever event that Archie and I sit down to discuss, we have to make sure that it’s COVID safe. So one of our things is show us what you’re doing. We’re not trying to promote house parties at all, and if a family can log in, show us what they’re doing with their families or kids, or if you’re having a glass of wine with your spouse then we want to see that but everything we do we’re making sure that it’s COVID friendly, so it’s well thought out.”

This year will also see the addition of a couple of new contests including the Flannel Dance Party and the photo contest.

For the former, people are asked to choreograph and film a two-minute dance routine that will be shared during the five-hour Facebook Live stream. Viewers can vote on their favourite routine and prizes will be awarded to the winners.

The theme of the photo contest is “Kimberley’s Best Icicle,” but more details are still to come for that one.

“Right now there’s icicles hanging all over Kimberley,” Cetinski said. “So we’re looking for that fabulous photo of icicles, either play with light a little bit, or maybe it’s unique in a certain way, so just your best picture of an icicle.”

One of the big new things this year is the Kootenay DJ Search. DJs can put together their best five minute routine on video for a chance to win $500 with winner chosen by a public vote.

Another exciting new one is the Fat Bike Poker run, which Cetinski thinks will be held in the Kimberley Nature Park from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“We’ll send out a map and then people will stop by the appointed spot to pick up a card and then the best poker hand wins a prize,” Cetinski explained. “We will be expanding on fat bikes in the years to come. The Kimberley Trails Society is thrilled to be taking this on for us and making sure it’s safe, it’s COVID safe, and then we’ll be doing a sweep of the trail at the end to make sure everybody’s safe and off the train.”

Cetinski and Archibald have a lot more in store as well. There’s a yet-to-be-announced celebrity guessed, a worldwide shoutout which will feature flannel-clad Australians calling in and the organizers are getting the nursing home involved as well.

The event has some great sponsors on board so far, Cetinski said, including Columbia Basin Trust and Teck. There are also sponsors for individual contests, for example Kootenay Kritters is sponsoring the Best Dressed Flannel Pet, The Manly Man Beard Contest is sponsored by Sprout and the Tick Tock Dance Contest is sponsored by Coffee.

They are still seeking further sponsors, so if your business is interested contact

This year JCI Kootenay have gotten involved and will be supporting Archibald and Cetinski. Jordan Nering of Artistic Media Productions has also jumped on board this year.

The best way to keep up with all the announcements for this upcoming event is on their Facebook page

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