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First Night full of entertainment, fun

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What: First Night: A Celebration of the Arts

Where: Whistler Village

When: Dec. 31

Get those required tickets and kazoos now for ringing in 2002 at First Night: A Celebration of the Arts.

This year’s New Year’s Eve event, organized by the Resort Municipality of Whistler in conjunction with Mo Ideas Management, includes entertainment at Maurice Young Millennium Place as well as numerous workshops, performances and street entertainers.

"We want to let people know that there’s a lot of fun to be had at these events without tons of alcohol, and this is a community celebration for families and visitors to the area," says Maureen Douglas.

"First Night is really about renewal and letting go of the past, and it’s a fun set of events, with acts like Dances with Salmon," laughs Douglas.

This year’s First Night starts off with the walk: a People’s Procession at 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to put on their best duds, grab their kazoos and come see amazingly huge community-made puppets, as creativity shines into the New Year.

A last minute addition, Dances with Salmon, is a velcro dodgeball of sorts from the Corporate Play People. Participants can throw fish-shaped pieces at a velcro wall while trying to avoid The Dancing Bear.

At Millennium Place the improv troupe Rock, Paper, Scissors, from Vancouver will be running the New Year’s Game Show. Also at Millennium Place will be jazz divas Mother of Pearl, who perform jazz, blues and a "mystery medley" for the under 12 crowd. Teen DJs will also spin tunes for the 13-18 year old crowd.

As you wander through the village, from Village Square to Town Plaza, you’ll be able to check out performances by Moving Chords Youth Show Choir, Moodswings’ Joani Bye, Linda Kidder and the Noodle Brothers.

Local music favourites Gordo and Brian bring smooth acoustic sounds to Village Square, while the beat goes in at percussion workshops in Whistler Village Centre. Workshop participants can explore rhythm and melody on congas and hide drums, then use their instruments to drum in 2002.

The night is full of wondrous mystical creatures like Capri the Fairy Princess, who grants wishes for those who believe in the magic of the night. The Lids and Lanterns accessories party lets you get absolutely fabulous creating glittery accessories and lantern jars to carry through the walk.

Juggler Mike Battie and the Carrot Top Circus entertain families, while the Arts for the Hip tent in Village Square features henna tattoo art, chalk art graffiti, body painting and mad "hatter" design.

Among the acts warming up Town Plaza will be hot to trot fire jugglers Alex Elixir and Kira Schaffer. Alternatively you can check out the installation where art goes green: Airing Whistler’s laundry features local artists creating their own works of art using retired hotel linens.

That Was So Last Year is a supervised bonfire where you can scribble any negative thoughts or events from 2001 on a piece of paper and toss them into the flame. The counter point to That Was So Last Year is Go Towards the Light, two illuminated canopy tents where you can write your wishes and thoughts for the New Year.

All bus transportation is free on New Year’s Eve, including a shuttle from the village to the Meadow Park Sports Centre, where an Ice Carnival is going on all night. Skating, face painting, races and other activities on the ice are Ice Carnival highlights.

In-bound bus service to the village is suspended between 10 p.m. and midnight.

First Night is an alcohol-free celebration, and the Whistler RCMP emphasize that the zero tolerance rule for drunkenness and rowdyism is in effect as per usual.

Tickets for First Night are on sale at Municipal hall, the Meadow Park Sports Centre, and the Myrtle Philip Community Centre. For more information call the Resort Municipality of Whistler at 604-932-5535, or the Meadow Park Sports Centre at 604-935-8350. For the complete First Night program log on to www.piquenewsmagazine.com.

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