Special Olympics B.C. debuting Vernon-made cauldron at opening ceremony

Vernon business creates legacy item for BC Special Olympics

The Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games are coming to Vernon this weekend, and when they leave, they will be bringing along something from the host city.

A local business has created a cauldron to use for the opening ceremonies in the years to come.

In the past, organizers of the games have had to borrow a cauldron to light for the opening ceremonies, creating logistical challenges.

However, that will no longer be an issue, as Special Olympics B.C. commissioned Vernon’s A1 Machine and Welding to design and create a custom cauldron to be used during the game’s opening ceremonies for the foreseeable future.

“We love it. We’ve been around for almost 40 years in British Columbia and never had our own cauldron,” said Dan Howe, president of Special Olympics B.C.

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“This is the first time we’ve been in Vernon for our provincial games, and to have a legacy like this is fantastic.”

READ MORE: ‘It makes me feel good’: Penticton bowler setting sights on gold at B.C. Special Olympics

The bulk of A1’s business is structural steel so this project was a little outside the company’s norm.

“I let a couple of the young welders and fabricators run with it. I’m pretty happy with [how it] turned out,” said Darryl Thomas, a project manager for A1.

Watch: Global Okanagan coverage leading up to the Special Olympic B.C. Winter Games in Vernon

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The project has helped the shop to realize what its workers are capable of doing.

“We’ve always had requests…I think we are going to go for just about anything [now],” said Thomas.

The lighting of the cauldron is often a highlight of the opening ceremonies.

READ MORE: Vernon set to welcome hundreds of athletes for the Special Olympics BC Winter Games

“It is a magical moment where our law enforcement partners…bring in the torch, and they help open the games with an athlete,” said Howe.

“It is a moment of pride for the family members that their child is here to compete and it is a moment of excitement for the athletes who have trained so hard to get here.”

The Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games run from Feb. 21 to 23 in Vernon.