Get Stuffed 

Harvest Time

The farmer?s market is wrapping up, Oktoberfest is on its way ? if you like to eat, the fall truly is the best time of the year

The harvest feast has begun. Squirrels are packing their nests full of nuts and cones, bears are packing their guts with berries and leafy greens, and birds are feeding on seeds and insects.

Humans ? less driven by survival instincts but nonetheless impelled by our genetics to get a few good meals in before winter ? are also joining the feast.

For Whistler residents, the next few months are all about food and drink, starting with Thanksgiving this weekend, which includes the Appy Awards and the last Farmer?s Market of the season in the Upper Village.

It?s Oktoberfest next weekend at the Whistler Conference Centre, featuring a beer garden, a pancake breakfast and a special Saturday Farmer?s market.

There will be various wine tastings and winemaker?s dinners throughout the month of October, culminating with the annual Cornucopia celebration Nov. 8-11.

First thing?s first.

The Thanksgiving weekend kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 6, with the first annual Appy Awards, hosted by the Puzzy Zone Dog Day Care & Adventure Centre and the Whistler Cooking School.

Local restaurants will prepare their best appetizers for judges and the general public from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Whistler Village Centre parking lot, outside of where both businesses are located.

The judges will pick one restaurant, and the people will pick one restaurant. The winning restaurants will each receive a cooking class for eight people at the Whistler Cooking School.

The cost is $12 in advance and $15 at the door, or $8 for children 12 and under. All proceeds from the Appy Awards will go towards the Canadian Avalanche and Rescue Dog Association. Last year a CARDA dog and his handler made their first ever live rescue of an avalanche victim in Fernie.

This Sunday, it?s the last Farmers? Market in the Upper Village and the second-to-last Market of the season, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to Market co-ordinator Lovena Harvey, there will be a Thanksgiving theme, including pumpkin drawing, apple bobbing and face painting for children. For adults, there will be everything you need to host a Thanksgiving dinner ? pumpkin pies, pumpkins, mushrooms, all kinds of squash, fresh vegetables, everything but the turkey.

The usual crowds are expected, which were bigger than ever this season says Harvey.

"All of the vendors thought it was at least twice as busy as last year, and sales were up by that amount for probably all of the vendors," she says. "We had an average of 65 vendors at most markets, which is a record for us, and we have plans to expand even further next year.

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