Plenty of winter spirit despite no snow 

Pemberton fest packed with soirees, music, arts, workshops, parade and polar bear swim

What: Pemberton Valley Winter Festival

When: Friday, Feb. 10 to Sunday, Feb. 12

Where: Various locations

Just because there is no snow on the ground doesn’t mean Pembertonians won’t be getting into the Winter Fest spirit with a variety of entertainment and events all weekend long from Friday, Feb. 10 to Sunday, Feb. 12, which comes to a splash finale with the first annual Polar Bear Swim on the Sunday at 1 p.m. at One Mile Lake.

"We are hoping everyone gets into the winter spirit and has some fun while celebrating 2010," said organizer Jan Kennett.

The Polar Bear swim will replace the snow-dependant Winter Fest Games originally scheduled for Sunday.

All other events are moving full steam ahead with the Friday night kicking off with an Artisans Exhibit from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Pemberton Valley Lodge. The Pemberton Seniors Club event will showcase spinners, weavers and knitters in action along with a photography competition. The public votes for Best of Show.

Head over to the Pemberton Valley Golf and Country Club afterwards from 7 to 10 p.m. for a showcase of fine arts, live music, and a wine and cheese social soiree. Veteran musician Gordo will cover decades of great roots, blues and rock ’n’ roll with lead guitar from Pierre Eady, providing strolling ambiance to view the art work of Karen Love, Meg Gallup, Lynn Pocklington, Mike Tylor, Donna Jane, Billy Dan, Helen Utsal and Judy Bourhis.

Youth have a night to themselves with an evening of traditional dinner and drum making from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the new site of Xit’olacw High School in Mount Currie. They can also participate in the Youth Forum with Comedian Ian Tyson and pro snowboarders Feb. 11 from 11:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Pemberton Secondary School.

Saturday keeps festival celebrants busy from noon to night with the Winterfest Parade from 11 to 11:45 a.m., starting at the Pemberton Library and finishing at the Pemberton Legion with a flag-raising ceremony, marking the four-year countdown to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Cultural Spirit Day takes over from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the Pemberton Museum with Chicks with Picks, Signal Hill Choir, Northern Bear Clan Dancers and plenty of workshops and activities for kids.

The artisan exhibit carries on from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Pemberton Valley Lodge followed by two dances.

Youth dance the night away with the Stardust Sounds Dance Feb. 11 from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Pemberton Community Centre. Tickets are $5.

The Snowdown Dance is the festival’s signature event with country rock from the Western Stranger Band and plenty of room for two stepping from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Big Sky Golf and Country Club. Tickets are $20.

All proceeds from festival events benefit A Chance for Kids foundation, a society helping Olympic bound athletes in the Sea to Sky Corridor. Recipients of A Chance for Kids will be honoured at the Flag Raising Ceremony on the Saturday.

For a complete schedule, visit www.pembertonchamber.com.

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