Canada Day’s family fun 

The Whistler Arts Council provides a score of family-friendly programming this weekend


Canada Day is a big ol' birthday party, right? And no one loves birthday parties better than children, so thankfully there will be a enough kid-oriented stimulation parading through the village this weekend to keep most of them from misbehaving while - with any kind of luck - establishing some interest for parents and not driving them completely bat-dung crazy.

Here's what's popping this weekend:

Canada Day Parade

Kids love parades. They have clowns and streamers and colours and music, exemplifying all the imagination that defines childhood. So, yes, the Canada Day parade will have all of that.

If the kids aren't content with merely watching the parade, they can take part in the Pique Pedal Parade, where they will ride their bicycles and dress up according to this year's parade them, "Our town: Celebrating Whistler's vibrancy, lifestyle and achievements."

It's a broad theme.

Prizes will be awarded before the parade to Whistler's most beautiful children, and by that we mean those with the best interpretation of the parade theme.

Parents can register their kids for the parade at 10 a.m. the day of outside municipal hall. We suppose kids could theoretically register themselves, if they so desired.

Fred Penner

The man needs no introduction. The childhood hero to three-fifths of Whistler's population under 35 is playing Whistler Olympic Plaza on Sunday at noon. Take your kids. Preserve the legend.

"Svetla" Roving Mountain Bike Team

It's a fictional riding team from the fictional Eastern European country of Svetla, speaking only in a fictional language (i.e., Gibberish) equipped only with handle bars because, the story goes, that's all the team could afford.

"We're mountain bike clowns, practicing mountain bike trials and posing for sexy pictures all around the village for the whole weekend," says Svetla creator Denise Jones. "It's four people in spandex, basically."

Svetla, it should be noted, also has a bobsled team, which graced the village during the Olympics with its antics and, ahem, second-rate athleticism. Their mountain bike team is brand new and has been created specifically for this Canada Day weekend. They'll be doing 10 sets over three days throughout the village, starting first with the Canada Day parade.

Circus Fungus

Some of the most imaginative characters on stilts will be lurching around the village throughout the weekend, amusing the children and harassing the parents.

Yes, Whistler will welcome back the nine-foot Mountie Sgt. Stilton, Canadian Mother Goose, Canadiana the Maple Leaf Fairy and King Coy, who will bring greetings from the land of Coylands.

"These are characters that have been established for some time and have appeared at festivals all across the province," says Fungus founder Marya Gadison.

She says they work with some of B.C.'s best children's street performers including puppeteers, stilt walkers, storytellers and fire dancers.

"We like the improv performance a lot. When we're working closely with an audience like that, it means that we have a really good opportunity to play with everyone and engage them," Gadison says.

There you go: Circus Fungus gets intimate.

Valley of Dreams Walking Tour

This Whistler Museum-guided tour is aimed more for the adults, tracing Whistler's 100-year history while weaving through the entire village.

There's not a set itinerary and the guides tend to fill out the tour with information the particular group might be interested in. The tour has been a staple for elderly visitors and spouses of conference-goers since 2006, so it might be a bit of a yawner for the kids, but with the extra animation roving through the village all weekend it might be okay.

"It's Whistler history in a nutshell," says Whistler Museum summer program coordinator Jeff Slack.

"We try to get audience participation, to ask questions, quirky facts, that kind of thing," he says.

These facts may include how Whistler and Blackcomb were named and the true nature of John Millar - neither of which will be explained here because then there'd be no point in going on the tour.

The Penton Family

They'll provide balloon characters, face painting and the assorted staples of any birthday celebration. What would Canada Day be without your child drawn up like a pink and yellow balloon-sword-wielding zebra? Not any kind of Canada Day we'd care to endorse.




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