Winter Kickoff Carnival in Nelson BC

Winter Kickoff Carnival in Nelson BC

When winter comes, the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region welcomes the season and visitors in true local style.

The annual Winter Kickoff Carnival & Events typically runs from late November to early December. From the bustling and vibrant city of Nelson to the small town charm of Kaslo, communities along Kootenay Lake will be featuring celebrations, exclusive tastes and special offers for travel and dining.

The family friendly festival typically kicks off with an immersive Carnival in November  in the historic Railtown District, at The Station. Illuminated circus tents often feature craft breweries, restaurants, interactive games, performances, and even the big guy in his red suit!

During the kickoff the region also embraces its reputation as a premiere destination for culture, cuisine and mountain lifestyle, with all kinds of events on tap.

Culture lovers will discover plenty of unique finds at multiple Christmas craft fairs throughout the region. Guided mural tours will bring Nelson’s colourful walls to life, while pantomimes, film premieres and theatre performances provide a variety of indoor cultural celebrations. Acclaimed museums and galleries welcome visitors to discover the history and creative side of the region, including a new exhibition about Nelson’s past newspapers at Touchstones.

City light ups and Santa Claus parades welcome visitors of all ages to celebrate the holiday season. Mother Nature often adds a beautiful white touch to the historic downtown streets and their storybook charm. Storefronts also do their part, with boutique shops dressing up their displays and offering unbeatable deals.

Early winter is the ideal time to discover the acclaimed independent restaurants in the region. Seasonal dishes, warm interiors, our specially crafted burger month, and flavourful locally brewed craft beers are a recipe for lingering and exploring the tapestry of tastes along Kootenay Lake.

With snow already accumulating on the mountains, winter enthusiasts will also be rewarded with early season activities. Whitewater Ski Resort opens in early December, while multiple snowshoeing and Nordic skiing areas provide more outdoor fun. The stillness of early winter and small crowds also makes for one of the best times of year to enjoy a relaxing dip at Ainsworth Hot Springs. If the snow line isn’t too low there is always a healthy jaunt up Pulpit Rock or drive to Mount Buchanan Lookout.

Best of all, great deals are available on accommodation and shopping. From boutique inns to waterfront resorts, and top end outdoor gear shops to carefully curated craft stores, it’s easy to find the right fit for your budget and tastes.

Take a look at what 2019 offered for the Winter Kickoff Carnival, and come join us this year as well!

The full roster of events, travel deals and details are at

When you come for the festivities be sure to visit the business who make Winter Kickoff awesome!

Trip Ideas
Family Friendly

The Region

Newsletter Subscribe
Travel Book


Read our visitors guide online or order a copy of the official visitor's guide and map for our region.