A residents' guide to Cornucopia 2010

Cornucopia (kor-nuh-KOH-pee-uh/, noun): The horn of plenty, from which fruits and flowers are represented as issuing. It is an emblem of abundance.

Whistler's annual celebration of wine and food is pretty aptly titled, as it turns out. In case you haven't had a chance to check out the 2010 schedule just yet, there are plenty of parties, workshops, tastings, seminars and winemaker dinners on offer this year. Organizers have included something for just about everyone, and that includes Whistler residents.

Yes, despite appearances, this festival has quite a few affordable options for people who are interested in immersing themselves in the world of fine wines and food. Here are a few that I think are well worth the price of admission:

House Party (Thursday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; $35)

For a second year running, the theme of the opening night party is "Best of B.C.," and participants can expect just that, with an impressive array of wineries, breweries and distilleries from across the province (including Fort Berens Estate from Lillooet and the hometown Whistler Brewing) on-hand to offer up samples of their wares. And since it's never fun to drink on an empty stomach, the talented team from the Four Seasons's Sidecut restaurants will be dishing up a decadent barbecue spread, while Windset Farms returns to do their live canapé assembling, on-site. Throw in some tunes from a local DJ, and you have the makings of a great party to start the festival off.

ARTrageous (Thursday Nov. 11, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.; $20 WAC members, $30 non-members)

The second destination of the first night of the festival has to be Whistler's original art party, ARTrageous. Now entering its 15 th year, the Whistler Arts Council has truly managed to put the "art" in "party". This year, their theme is "The Good Old Days." Dusty's will be transported back to the 1950s, complete with a sock hop and a soda shop, plus a display of artwork inspired by the '50s theme. And not all of the artwork is stationary: two local companies will be using models' skin as canvas, while Suzanne Johnston creates a community mural, live. Last but certainly not least, Vancouver's rockabilly/psychobilly group, The Deadcats, and Whistler's own DJ Chili Thom, provide the soundtrack for the party, taking us back in time with a melodic mix of rockabilly, surf, good ol' rock'n'roll and classic '50s hits. And since this is a food and wine festival, after all, Whistler Cooks will provide canapés, while Whistler Brewing's beers and an assortment of wines will be flowing.


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