First Night follies intended 

‘New format’ involves the crowd

WHAT: First Night Whistler

WHERE: Town Plaza

WHEN: Dec. 31 @ 6:15 p.m.

An all out effort by community organizers in Whistler has some seven hours of New Year’s Eve activities in Whistler’s Village North planned down to minute detail for families who wish to celebrate the new year without the help of any alcohol.

And a New Year’s Eve Fairy will be on hand to make sure wishes come true for participants and the Whistler First Night Task Force. That one wish? That "rowdyism and drunkenness" will not play a part in the new interactive entertainment format.

Organizers are expecting between 15,000 and 20,000 people to flood the Town Plaza location in Village North, which most have concluded is much more conducive to an event involving large crowds. The Town Plaza Gazebo is situated in the centre of a plaza that has wide access on four sides and is designed as a performance area.

Whistler’s Village Square, on the other hand, has proven in the past to congest rapidly and lead to problems with loitering teens.

In the new format, revellers in Whistler will not be forced to stand around in sub-zero temperatures watching a dance band. Instead, Participation Stations will provide folk arts and crafts workshops where people can make new year’s resolution art pieces. Another tent will be the venue for the parade creativity centre, in preparation for the 9 p.m. New Year’s Processional Parade through part of the village, and another tent will be focussing primarily on the age-old but tricky craft of juggling.

The size of the designated celebration area in Village North stretches hundreds of metres from the Ted Nebbeling foot bridge crossing Village Gate Boulevard, to the Amenity Bridge near The Brew House. The Town Plaza is directly at the centre of the celebration.

Although stages will play a smaller role this New Year’s Eve in Whistler, tried and true individual performers will animate the area with a variety of circus-like skills. Your juggling teachers for the evening will be the familiar Whistler entertainer Mike Battie, a.k.a. the Broccoli Man, and the comic cum daredevil Checkerboard Guy. Both of these resourceful performers promise to teach and display "gravity defying juggling" in addition to the standard feet-on-the-ground variety.

To increase the spirit of the new family format theme, award winning entertainers such as Bing Jenson will perform his infectious, high energy songs that have proven to be a big hit with children. The Noodle Brothers, also a Whistler favourite, will be close to the action with their interpretation of the Human Jukebox. This pair will dare anyone to name a song they don’t know, because, they claim to know every song ever composed. An all-girl trio called Moodswings, led by blues singer Joani Bye, will impress the throngs with sweet three-part harmonies in a wandering minstrel way.


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