Ever wondered how the Vernon Winter Carnival ever got started or where the clown "Jopo" came from? Well, we have some info here to get you into the mood for the upcoming events!.........
The clowns Jopo and Jopette
"Jopo" the Jester's role in the life of Carnival is to symbolize the happy spirit of Carnival. "Jopo" first appeared in 1965 as a brainchild of Mrs. John Maynard who thought Vernon should have a character to identify our Winter Cranial. She designed the costume and Bill Allum (along with his wife Lorraine) emerged as the first "Jopos". Mary Huggins helped by creating the facial make-up. At this time (1965) the Jester did not have a name and a contest was launched. The winning entry was submitted by 12 year old Tina Wunderli, who won $25 for her efforts.
The demands on "Jopo" great and carnival officials came up with more identical "Jopos". In the late 60's acrobatic dance Karen Smith entertained at the Queen Silver Star Proclamation as the first "Jopette". In 1971 a "Jopo" committee was formed as the demands on their time grew. 9 "Jopos" and 3 "Jopettes" were used at this time and these Jesters continue to be an integral part of Carnival.