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A Community Working Together
Merritt, B.C. – just 3 hours from Vancouver – is a community steeped in history. Ranchers first discovered the beautiful Nicola Valley in the early 1800s, and became the core of a thriving city; the ranching industry still is an integral part of the community to this day. The opening of the Coquihalla Highway in 1986 has since brought an estimated 8 to 10 million people through Merritt each year. The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, which began in 1993 regularly, brings over 150,000 country music fans to the Nicola Valley every July.
Today, Merritt retains its rural beauty, surrounded by lakes, rivers, high mountains and rolling grasslands, but has suffered along with much of small-town BC with the decline of forestry and mining. Now, however, efforts are being made to find a way to move from resource dependence to more dynamic and growing economic drivers. The community is involved with a push to return to prosperity, proving that the small-town rural spirit continues to thrive – it’s an attitude that fits perfectly with the Country Music Capital of Canada concept.
The Merritt Walk of Stars
100’s of International Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival over the last 12 years. Those stars have left their mark permanently by placing handprints (or, in one case, footprints) and signatures in concrete stars. In 2003, those stars became the basis for the Merritt Walk of Stars. By 2005 more than 100 bronzed stars, created from the concrete impressions, will be displayed throughout the community.
The stars themselves are constructed of lasting bronze, and are placed in weather-impervious man-made granite blocks for display. Tens of thousands of country fans are expected to view the stars each year. Stars will be displayed in an innovative way that will blend with other tourism development projects to keep visitors coming.
We cordially welcome you to visit Merritt and this wonderful legacy of country music!
Celebrating Country All Year Long
As the Country Music Capital of Canada, Merritt has the pleasure of celebrating country music throughout the year with a number of different events and activities.
The Walk of Stars and the Showcase Centre will ensure that there is something for everyone every day!
PLUS – throughout the year, many additional country events and attractions will be taking place for visitors to enjoy!
Merritt Country Christmas
Imagine a downtown illuminated with the lights on the Christmas Trees that line city streets, carolers and musicians, and decorated shops – that is the essence of Country Christmas. Thousands of spectators and revelers are drawn to downtown Merritt to enjoy a weekend filled with many family-based activities that include, the Annual Illuminated Santa Parade, the downtown Santa Land, and the family Country Christmas Dance. The addition of 100’s of bronzed stars along the Merritt Walk of Stars will become the finishing touch to this perfect piece of Holiday Magic!
Country Music Hall of Fame
A concept gaining strength every day, the Country Music Hall of Fame will feature and celebrate British Columbian and Canadian Country Music Artists, as well as International musicians. It is an opportunity to recognize and memorialize the history of the most popular form of music of the 20 th Century in a way that can be enjoyed by fans of all ages for years to come.
Concerts, Tributes & Star Endorsements
With the adoption of the Country Music Capital of Canada theme, Merritt has become a hotbed for country entertainment. Throughout the year, activities are taking place to celebrate this theme. Concerts, tributes and endorsements of entries in the Walk of Stars by major artists take place regularly. Both local music fans and visitors from all over take advantage of these events.
In keeping with the country music theme, plans are underway to make the entire downtown of Merritt a tourist attraction by constructing permanent facades, giving the area the feel of a frontier town hearkening back to the origins of the Nicola Valley.
Rodeo Fair Days
Rodeo Fair Days, which happens every Labour Day Long Weekend is a long time Nicola Valley Tradition that continues to enthrall thousands of spectators and participants. Among the many festivities are, the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo, that features some of North America’s best cowboys, an old-fashioned Fall Fair, a Street Mall, a community pancake breakfast, country music entertainment and dances – and much, much more.
Since 1993 the handprints and signatures have been collected from Country Music's top performers at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.These stars are now being placed in downtown Merritt, B.C. to create an attraction much like the famous Walk of Stars in Hollywood.
Keith Urban's Star 2002
The "about to become famous" Merritt Walk of Stars will have an estimated 10-15 stars added each year as stars are collected from Country Music headliners at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.
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