KEREMEOS — This weekend at the Keremeos Grist Mill and Gardens will be about celebrating both the old and the new.

With both Canada 150 and the mill's 140th birthday taking place this year, the heritage site will hold the Similkameen Heritage Festival from May 25-28 with a range of events and activities open to all ages.

"Putting those two things together seemed like a nice opportunity to celebrate local history" said Chris Mathieson, operator and manager of the site. "Everything is happening all at once. We're celebrating these two birthdays and we also just almost finished building a new water wheel for our mill."

The festival kicks off with an opening reception Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. that is free to attend, then a heritage dinner on Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for $20 a ticket.

Saturday is Family Fun and Games Day, a chance for families to participate in a variety of traditional games, see displays and presentations and hear from heritage organizations around the valley about their parts of the history of the Similkameen. A celebration cake will be cut at 3 p.m.

The Grist's team of volunteers created historical costumes to be shown during a fashion show and garden tea party Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., with tickets for $15.

Not long after the festival has ended, the site will be celebrating the installation of a new waterwheel that will allow it to continue educating people about the area's history for years to come.

"It's one of those once-in-a-generation projects," said Mathieson. "With all of these new things, it's all so exciting."

The Grist Mill and Gardens are located at 2692 Upper Bench Road.

Tickets for all of the events are available at the mill's reception or online at

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