Pemberton makes Olympic festival plans 

First Pemberton Valley Winter Festival to showcase everything from ski-joring to Much Music

In an effort to help local athletes and build on the spirit leading up to the Olympics, Pemberton is about to host the first Pemberton Valley Winter Festival.

The newly formed Pemberton Valley Spirit of British Columbia Community Committee, or PVSBC, is organizing the festival on Feb. 11, 12 and 13.

Head of the festival committee, Jan Kennett, said the event will be a fantastic opportunity for the town to create a 2010 legacy and also a chance to raise funds for potential medallists.

Kennett said the money raised at the Winter Festival will go to the A Chance for Kids Society, which funds athlete programs.

"It should help any young athletes who need extra coaching so they can have a chance to get on the podium during the Olympics," said Kennett.

"And it’s not necessarily just for the Olympics, it’s to help kids who have less in general as well."

The festival starts on Friday, Feb. 11 with a Much Music dance party, followed by a parade and a more formal dance on Saturday night. On Sunday Pemberton should be filled with athletes and outdoor enthusiasts as there will be races and demonstrations in cross-country skiing, biathlon, dog sledding snowmobiling and ski-joring. Ski-joring features a horse-drawn skier navigating a jump-filled 200-yard course.

Kennett said the idea for the festival germinated out of trip to Heber, Utah.

"Some people from Pemberton went and checked out what little Heber did during the Olympics because they’re in about the same proximity to Salt Lake and Park City as Pemberton is to Vancouver and Whistler.

"During the Olympics our ultimate goal would be to have a festival every night of the week and we would charge for people to come and that’s what Heber did.

"And they raised a lot of money for their town," she said. "But in the mean time we want to focus on the kids."

For more information about the festival call the PVSBC Chairman Don Coggins on 604 894 3344 or e-mail him at chidaq@mycoast.net.

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