Playhouse full of toys, activities this year 

WHAT: Playhouse

WHERE: AlpenRock

WHEN: April 20

Who wants to grow up? Well, you don’t have to at this year’s all-night party. Playhouse is the theme, and celebrations are planned to provoke child-like enthusiam.

As was the case last year, the AlpenRock will house the event. It’s an ideal venue for its many rooms which will all bear unique decorations and a range of music. The first room party-goers will come across is titled ‘Luscious’, and as the name implies, it’s the girlie room. All-female DJs – Little T, Leanne, Kathy, Shandy Rae – will be on the wheels and the fun and games will be full of sugar and spice. Boys and girls in this room will also be caught on camera and broadcast live via satellite to the Luscious clothing Web site.

Not your scene? Not to fret, there’s enough variety in the Playhouse to entertain even the fussiest brat.

"Last year I got distracted with last minute meetings with officials," says co-ordinator Ace MacKay Smith. "So this year I was able to really pay attention to the decorating. Things this year are much more interactive… Most of the rooms have cool entrances, tunnel-like things. The bowling is back again. That was pretty popular last year. The bowling is by donation and that’ll be going to charity. Another room will have massage with storytellers, Dr. Seuss-type stuff. And the other areas, well, I have to leave some things a surprise," she laughs.

Sandboxes, finger-painting and video games. You can hear the giggles and squeals already.

For the more active children, there’s dancing, dancing and more dancing. MacKay Smith and Playhouse partner, Michael Ziff, are no strangers to the club scene and have lined up some of the best local and international DJs: Spun K, Sean Brawley, Craig Mullin, Hebegebe, Ghetto Boy and Muchi Mambo. L.A. native Marques Wyatt will be playing the main room where he’ll be in full view on the stage, instead of the booth.

Through more than a decade of dedication and passion for music, Wyatt has emerged as one of the elite personalities at the forefront of the global house phenomenon. It was Louie Vega who introduced Wyatt’s West Coast talents to New York in 1996 at the world renowned Sound Factory Bar, where Wyatt earned the critical respect of the Big Apple’s music aficionados. Since then, he has been sought after by clubs the world over, such as The Ministry of Sound in London. In addition to England and Canada, Wyatt has toured Europe, Japan, and the width and breadth of the United States.

Anyone at last year’s all-nighter, Shine, may remember the uncertaintity surrounding the event and last minute meetings with the municipality for licensing approval. Whistler Councillor Nick Davies stayed right through til 8 a.m. last year and his thumbs-up certainly made the process smoother for this year’s party.

"Overall, council was super happy with everything. The only major point of discussion was the line-up situation at the door," says MacKay Smith. "We’re going to open an hour earlier, at 11 p.m. We’re gonna try to get everyone in the doors before the bars close, or as much as possible anyway. We know a lot of people will go to the bars before coming to us. It seemed last year, any minor scuffle that started was with people who were a little drunker after the bars and they didn’t have a ticket and were trying to get in."

MacKay Smith hopes to avoid that situation by encouraging strong pre-sales. Tickets, in fact, will not be available at the door and those without a ticket will not even be permitted to wait in line. If the event doesn’t sell out in advance, a separate area will be designated for ticket sales.

MacKay Smith also puts out a gentle reminder that this is a non-alcohol event, and those showing up overly-intoxicated will be denied admission.

"Last year we were a little undersold because RCMP were concerned about admission numbers and about the lineup that was forming, so we stopped selling tickets," says Mackay Smith. "But this year we’ve had three meetings with RCMP. They’ve been really great. They even seem to like it!"

And well they should. Playhouse organizers have agreed to foot the bill for four extra officers to be on patrol that night.

Bestsellers is the place to buy the hottest ticket of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. The first hundred tickets are $35. Tickets purchased before April 18 th are $40. And if there are still tickets left on the 19 th and 20 th , prices go up to $45 and $50 at the door.

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