The CP Holiday Train will be rolling into Ashcroft on Sunday, Dec. 16. Photo: Barbara Roden.

The CP Holiday Train will be rolling into Ashcroft on Sunday, Dec. 16. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Local News Briefs: The Holiday Train is coming

Plus an Ugly Christmas Sweater party, Winter Lights, a dance recital, and much more

Give some children a happy Christmas

The Equality Project has once more put together a Christmas wish list for some local children whose parents could use a little help with gifts this year. The list is available on the Project’s Facebook page (The Equality Project), or email for more information. Cash donations are also gratefully accepted.

Pictures with Santa

No need to go to the big city for pictures with Santa! “Captured by Jo Photography” will be at UniTea Café in Ashcroft (210 Railway Avenue) on Friday, Dec. 14 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and again on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., to capture those precious Christmas memories.

The picture cost is $22, and all pictures will be emailed. Cash, debit, and credit cards will be accepted.

Flyers are available at UniTea and Ashcroft IDA Pharmacy. You can also call (250) 457-1145 for more information.

Dance recital

The Krush Dance Company will be presenting its Winter Dance Recital on Saturday, December 15 at the Ashcroft HUB. There will be two shows, at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Admission is $3 per person.

Come out and see more than 150 talented locals of all ages show off their best moves in a wide variety of dance styles.

Music at the Bear’s Claw

Head to the Bear’s Claw Lodge in Cache Creek on Saturday, Dec. 15 for a live music event featuring singer and guitarist Jennifer Ferguson and percussionist Jan Schmitz. Ferguson will be singing some country Christmas favourites to get people in the mood for the holidays, and the audience can enjoy appetizers, dinner, or beverages as they listen.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Call (250) 457-9705 to reserve your seats.

Winter Lights celebration

The Cache Creek Beautification Society is once more presenting the annual Winter Lights Celebration, on Sunday, Dec. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Cache Creek Community Hall.

This free community Christmas party will feature Christmas music from the Desert Bells Handbell Choir, the Kamloops Handbell Choir, door prizes, refreshments, a public Christmas carol singalong, a visit from Santa, and recognition of the outdoor Christmas decorations in Cache Creek. All are invited to get into the holiday spirit at this wonderful event.

Holiday Train

The CP Holiday Train will be coming through Ashcroft on Sunday, Dec. 16. Now in its 20th year, the train offers live performances at each stop (this year’s entertainers are the Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott, and Tracy Brown), while collecting money and goods for food banks across Canada and the northern United States.

The train, decorated with thousands of lights, is scheduled to arrive in Ashcroft at 8:35 p.m., and the performance starts at 8:45. The Holiday Train will be in Kamloops and Savona earlier on the 16th (at 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. respectively), and on Dec. 17 will be in Lytton at 12:45 p.m. There is no charge for the performance, but the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society will be collecting donations of food and cash for the Ashcroft Food Bank.

Christmas at the HUB

There will be a Christmas event at the Ashcroft HUB on Wednesday, Dec. 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. for all children in Grades 1 to 6. The event will feature a visit from Santa, a movie, and snacks, and the cost is $2 per person.

Register by phone (250-453-9177), email (, or at the HUB office by Friday, Dec. 14. Pick-up from Desert Sands Community school will be available.

Ugly Christmas sweater party

UniTea Café and Lounge in Ashcroft will be holding its first annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party on Friday, Dec. 21 starting at 8 p.m. Start looking for that perfect ugly sweater (or feel free to uglify one yourself); it might win you two tickets to see Blues artist Jack Semple at UniTea in January, or $50 in cash. There will also be prizes for the most creative, funniest, most offensive, and most original ugly sweater.

Is there an ugly Christmas sweater in your closet? Dig it out and wear it with pride on Dec. 21; you won’t be the only one. Tickets are $5 each, and all are welcome.

Electoral reform ballots

The Dec. 7 deadline for submitting your ballot on electoral reform in B.C. has now come and gone. As of Monday, Dec. 10, Elections BC reported that an estimated 1,356,000 ballots had been received, representing approximately 41 per cent of eligible voters.

In the Fraser-Nicola riding, 8,768 of the riding’s 25,215 registered voters returned their ballots (34.8 per cent). Only two ridings had a turnout of more than 50 per cent of voters: Saanich North and the Islands (52.4 per cent) and Parksville-Qualicum (51.4 per cent). Surrey-Whalley had the lowest turnout, at 22.4 per cent.

The results of the referendum on electoral reform are scheduled to be announced before Christmas 2018.

Have your say on B.C.’s fishing regulations

The public is invited to provide feedback on proposed changes to fishing regulations for the 2019–2021 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis. A complete list and description of the proposed regulations can be viewed at

The proposals include changes to fishing methods, gear, bait, quotas, boundaries, and fishery opening and closing dates. These changes are based on regional requirements and conditions, and aim to meet management objectives for native and invasive fish species, while maintaining sustainable angling opportunities for recreational fishers.

Comments must be received by Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. After final decisions have been made, the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis will be posted online in mid-March at Comments will be considered in the final review process. The approved changes will be in effect on April 1, 2019.

Christmas fun fact

There are many songs not specifically about Christmas that are associated with the holiday, and “Jingle Bells” is one of the most famous of them. However, the song was not written as a Christmas song; its creator, James Lord Pierpont, wrote it with Thanksgiving in mind, and it was copyrighted in 1857 under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”.

The song commemorates the famous Medford, Massachusetts sleigh races (Pierpont was a resident of Medford for several years). While the lyrics of the second verse seem fairly tame today, they contain a fairly racy connotation for the 1850s, describing as they do how a man invites “Miss Fanny Bright” to accompany him on a sleigh ride, which ends with the horse getting the sleigh stuck in a snowbank. In those days of young, unmarried women like Miss Bright unable to go almost anywhere with a man without being chaperoned, a sleigh ride provided a rare opportunity for some privacy.

The final line of that verse describes how after getting stuck, the couple got “upsot”. It’s not a typo for “upset” (as in either spilled out of the sleigh or angered); it’s a reference to drinking, implying that alcohol is involved. Perhaps the couple had a flask of something warming with them, which wuld make “Jingle Bells” one of the first recorded instances of drinking and driving.

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