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Family Fun Day, B.C. Rivers Day join forces for fair

Everything from sack races to canoe scavenger hunts at Meadow Park

Whistler has events almost every weekend it seems, but not many occasions that focus entirely on locals or on families. To remedy the situation, the Rotary Club hosted their first Family Fun Day last year, bringing out more than 220 parents and children for a day of games, activities and food.

There was no question that there was going to be a second annual event, which is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Meadow Park.

“We dreamed it up last year, putting on some sort of celebration at the end of the summer,” said Gordon Leidal, who is organizing the event for Rotary Club.

“So many things go on in Whistler that are really neat, but there is nothing for kids and families quite like this.”

Admission is by donation, thanks to sponsors, and all of the events and activities are free.

This year the Rotary Club is teaming up with the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group’s annual B.C. Rivers Day celebration, adding new activities like fly fishing demonstrations and a canoe scavenger hunt to the mix this year. The Rotary Club is also teaming up with other community groups to expand the number of activities offered.

At last count there were about two dozen activities taking place, but there is a method to the madness.

The displays, many of which will be interactive, will be running through the fair, as will the events offered by Rivers Day.

The kids races get underway at 11 a.m., including three-legged races, sack races, egg & spoon races, and wheelbarrow races. All kids will get a free T-shirt for taking part.

The official welcome is at 11:45 a.m., with Mayor Ken Melamed, emcees, a demonstration by Whistler Gymnastics and a sing-along.

The barbecue is 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the soccer shoot-out — with the mayor in net — is from noon to 1 p.m., and the second round of races and activities, including the tug-of-war, is from 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.

New this year is the Whistler Kids Got Talent show, where a small stage and microphone will be set up and participants can earn a prize for telling a joke, singing a song, or doing just about anything. It runs from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

The AWARE Kids Club is also putting on a predator versus prey game from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., teaching kids about nature while giving them a chance to run around.

Events taking place all day include the bouncy castle donated by the Pemberton Rotary, demonstrations by Whistler Fire Services, face painting, air brush tattoos, interactive displays, a jellybean guessing contest, local mascots, random prize presentations.

The B.C. Rivers Day includes the free canoe scavenger hunt with all of the local guiding companies supplying boats so participants can paddle the River of Golden Dreams to Edgewater, and shuttling paddlers back to Meadow Park. As well, there is a fish-shaped tent provided by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans with items from the Vancouver Aquarium, and fly fishing demos with the Whistler Angling Club and Whistler Flyfishing Guides.

According to Betty Rebellato of the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group, the event is an opportunity to celebrate B.C.’s rivers, and the role they play in the environment and in our heritage.

“We would normally have B.C. Rivers Day with the rest of the province the following weekend, and we got a few hundred people out last year, but we realized that we’re going for the same audience at the Rotary and this was a really good opportunity to join forces and add something to both events,” she said.

Leidal said the goal is just to break even, and any proceeds will go to next year’s event.