Fourth of July caps off a week of Whistler festivities 

VSO performs great American composers; Harley Davidson rally turns resort into HOG town

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Fourth of July celebrations in Whistler promise a very Yankee good time to all visitors, whether American, Canadian, or from further afield.

Starting things off, rejoicing in all things Harley Davidson is the 14th Western Regional HOG Rally from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Local and international members of the Harley Owners Group (HOG) will first ride the Sea to Sky Highway from Squamish to Whistler, ending with a motorbike showcase in Skier's Plaza.

The Whistler Longboard Festival continues. The event takes place at the base of Blackcomb mountain at the Whistler Sliding Centre, from July 3 to 5. The route has a 1,000-ft vertical drop, with seven 180-degree hairpin turns.

A Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) string quartet performs two hour-long free concerts in Town Plaza, from 11 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

In the evening, the VSO plays its second-last concert after a week of music, highlighting American composers in honour of the U.S. Independence Day. Composers include Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland. George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" will be performed, along with two sections of the Star Wars Suite by John Williams.

There are no fireworks capping the evening this year, the second year in a row, said a spokesperson for the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

The final concert by the VSO, on Saturday, July 5, includes music by Verdi, Sibelius, Grieg, Bizet and Stravinsky.

The Point begins its summer arts events

Singer-songwriter Susan Holden kicks off the Saturdays at The Point Artist-Run Centre series on the shores of Alta Lake, with her country-swing originals, and also covers by the likes of Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton on Saturday, July 5.

It's a casual affair with drop-ins from noon to 6 p.m. to listen to music while taking coffee or lunch at the Cypress Point Café.

Giller Prize-nominated writer Zsuzsi Gartner is running two half-day writing workshop at The Point on two Sundays, July 13 and 20, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $175, and includes course material and snacks.

It is suitable for both emerging and published writers of short fiction, novels, creative non-fiction, and personal essay and memoir.

August children's art programs at The Point are for the third year being offered by Whistler singer-songwriter, visual artist and theatre performer Aude Ray. A week in French and a second week in English are available.

The camps are for eight to 12-year-olds, with the French camp running from August 11 to 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the English camp from August 18 to 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Both groups will then perform their original theatre and music creations at the Flag Stop Theatre & Arts Festival on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 23. The festival, also in its third year, features works created at The Point by children, teen and adult artists, as well as visiting artists from Vancouver and other parts of B.C.

For more information on all events and to sign up for the arts programs visit www.thepointartists.com.

Buddhist teacher speaks at Whistler Library

Buddhist teacher Lama Marut, author of A Spiritual Renegade's Guide to the Good Life, gives a talk on how living an ethical life is the key to true happiness, without the need to retire to a Himalayan cave.

Hear him at the Whistler Public Library on Friday, July 11, at 11:30 a.m.

Muse writers retreat in Pemberton cancelled for July

The Muse in the Meadows writers retreat has been cancelled for July and scaled back in August, says organizer Rebecca Wood Barrett.

Muse in the Meadows offers writers the chance to start or continue a project under the guidance of Wood Barrett. Writers of fiction of all kinds, including poetry and screenwriting, and non-fiction writing are welcome.

The August program, open to both fiction and non-fiction writers will take place from Wednesday, Aug. 13 to Sunday, Aug. 17. The full cost with B&B and food is $830. The day program, for those not needing accommodation, is $250 and includes lunch. If participants wish to stay the final night to participate in the Slow Food Cycle, there is a reduced rate of $60.

For more information, contact the Spotted Raven B&B in the Upper Pemberton Valley by emailing marnie_s@shaw.ca or calling 604-894-0242.

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