Troubled by the lack of family-friendly events in the community, Whistler Rotarians created a new celebration in 2007 called Family Fun Day, inviting residents to come out and enjoy a day of socializing and activities. There's no fundraising angle or cost involved, everything is by donation and the only thing you need to bring is your smile.
This year's event takes place on Sept. 20, once again in conjunction with B.C. Rivers Day, at Meadow Park Sports Centre.
The event is continuing to grow, using money raised over the previous years to provide more attractions. Local businesses and individuals have also been generous, providing food for the barbecue and prizes for kids taking part in contests.
"We are getting more people every year, but we'd like to see every family in town come out," said David Oakes, who is helping to organize celebrations.
There are a wide range of tables and attractions that will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., including face painting and colouring, a bouncy castle donated by the Pemberton Rotary Club, up to 15 community groups that are putting together activities for kids, a jellybean counting contest, an appearance by the Olympic mascots, live entertainment, art with the Orkidz Art Studio, the Morphy Caterillar Slide, and more. Members of the RCMP and Whistler Fire Services will be on hand, as well as members of the newly revived Whistler Sailing Club.
There is also a wide range of scheduled events. The official welcome by the mayor takes place at 11:30 a.m., followed by traditional races for the kids like the three-legged race, potato sack race, egg and spoon race and wheelbarrow race. There will be a soccer ball shoot-out from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. with celebrity goalies, followed by the Whistler Kids Got Talent show. All kids are invited to show off a skill or talent, whether it's singing a song or telling a joke, and there are prizes for all the participants.
"That's the one area we'd really like to grow this year," said Oakes. "We went out to the schools to let kids know so they can prepare something. It doesn't have to be much, but it was a huge hit last year."
At 3 p.m. there will be a massive tug-of-war and the presentation of draw prizes.
The B.C. Rivers Day events also run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., including a nature scavenger hunt, carnival fish pond, fly-fishing demonstrations, the Waterwise Champs Game and other activities.
The barbecue will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to feed hungry families and collect donations that will go towards hosting next year's event.
"Every cent we make this year will be spent next year, and we're going to keep working to make this event bigger and bigger," said Oakes.