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Lots for families in festival

Mascot competition, Disneyland zone among activities

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By Andrew Mitchell and Paige Harley

While sport, music and arts events still get the most attention at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival there are a growing number of community and family events that have taken on a life all their own.

This year is no exception, with events like the Mascot competition and Dog Parade returning to the festival, alongside new attractions like the Disneyland Family Zone.

Mascot Mayhem – April 15-16

For the third year in a row Mascot Mayhem will be taking place as part of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. This event features the festival’s mascot, Big Air Bear, along with several other furry creatures of various shapes and sizes.

With limited vision, oversized footwear, and all the other impediments that go along with wearing a huge mascot outfit, the participants will be put through a series of relays and tests to see who has the right stuffing.

Day one of the Mayhem runs from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 15 at the Children’s Learning Centre at Whistler Mountain Mid Station.

On Sunday the action moves to Village Square from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Big Air Bear will also celebrate his birthday party with cake at 3 p.m.

The mascots will also make other appearances during the festival – just look for the fur.

Whistler Dog Fest – April 15-16

Mothers and fathers have their own holiday – shouldn’t our best friends also be celebrated? During the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival two days are devoted to our furry friends.

The Village Commons area, outside the Village 8 Cinemas, will be the festival’s dog expo site, with daily exhibitions and demonstrations starting at noon.

On Saturday, April 15 there will be a Paws Ahead agility presentation from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dogs Association Showcase from 1 to 1:30 p.m. For the following 45 minutes organizers will be registering and accessorizing their dogs for the ninth annual Dog Parade. There will be a Paws 2 Dance demonstration from 1:45 to 2:15 p.m. for the crowds, and the parade runs from 2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m., with about 200 dogs expected.

A 3 p.m. there will be awards for the Best Dressed Dog and the Dog Owner Look-a-like contests.

Events will continue through to about 5:15 p.m.

Sunday’s events are similar, minus the Dog Parade. For a detailed look at Dog Fest visit www.whistler2006.com/dogfest/schedule/

Disneyland Family Zone – April 14-23

For the duration of the festival the Town Plaza area will be transformed into a miniature amusement park with a bungee trampoline, face painters, jugglers, magic shows, and more. There will also be a special Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 16 at 11 a.m. and a birthday party for Big Air Bear at 3 p.m.

Reel Youth Workshops – April 15-16

For young adults that aren’t into getting their faces painted, Reel Youth of Whistler is offering Claymation Workshops for kids 19 and under. There is a 20-person capacity so advance registration is recommended through the festival E-Store – www.whistler2006.com/estore/

The workshops run from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. There will also be all ages open workshops from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The claymation animations will be given to a professional editor who will create 30 second shorts with soundtracks that can be viewed at the Reel Youth website at www.reelyouth.ca and will be submitted into the Reel Youth Film Festival.

Skate Zone – April 14-23

The mini halfpipe will return to Village Square this year, and can be sessioned by anyone from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. who has a board and a helmet.

There will be a judged mini-ramp contest on Thursday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with categories for kids, boys, girls, beginners and advanced riders. There will be prizes and awards for the top skaters.

In addition, the mini-ramp will have daily special sessions for kids under 12 and girls. Kids under 12 will own the ramp from noon to 12:30 p.m. while girls will have it to themselves from 2:30 to 3 p.m.

YOP Bike Trials – April 14-23

Ryan Leech, one the top trials mountain bikers in Canada, will take over Mountain Square every day with free demonstrations. Weekday performances are at 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and weekend shows are 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Leech’s shows always attract a crowd, so get there a little early, especially with small children, to get a spot in the front row.

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