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Squamish Wind Festival blows in for big year

Free festival brings art, music and workshops to Junction Park—with a focus on drawing visitors

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The Squamish Wind Festival might have roots in wind surfing, but over the last two years organizers have worked hard to shift its focus to arts and music.

"It used to be a wind-surfing festival," says Katherine Karr, festival and events coordinator with the Squamish Arts Council, which organizes the event. "(But now we're) focusing on what Squamish residents forget: it's a rich environment for artists. It's a great way to celebrate the local artists we have here."

The festival marks the arts council's biggest event of the year and, for 2018, they're hoping to attract tourists from across the Sea to Sky corridor and beyond.

"We're hoping to push the tourism part of it to hopefully make arts and culture a tourism draw," Karr adds. "It's a free festival—the biggest free festival in Squamish. We're excited to make this the biggest one yet."

The festival kicks off on Thursday, July 26, with an Emerging Artists Concert Series from 7 to 9 p.m. The special edition of the summer-long Amped in the Park series, which features local talent playing short sets in the park, will also include food trucks and other activities.

Then, on Friday, you can catch an outdoor screening of Black Panther as part of Movie Under the Stars from 6 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. (There will be games for kids until show time.)

"That's a really fun, accessible way to showcase films in Squamish," 5Karr adds.

The main slate of events, however, will take place all day on Saturday. There will be performers, workshops, food trucks and art demonstrations from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Junction Park.

"Some things will go on all day," Karr says. "When you enter at Junction Park, the market is the first thing you'll see (and then) you'll go into demonstrations and live music."

The artisan market will feature up to 35 vendors (they currently have 23 confirmed, but are still accepting applications), selling everything from clothing to jewelry to home décor and upcycled kids' toys. "It's our biggest year (for the market)," Karr says. "Last year we had 13 vendors."

On top of that, there will be axe throwing, live painting, food trucks and buskers throughout the day. Workshops will include a live carving demonstration by the renowned artist Xwalactun, a sold-out Mimosas and Mosaics event (a few more spots might open up, Karr says), a screen printing workshop where you can walk away with a new t-shirt and a craft workshop for kids.

"We've built a community around that weekend (by) being something that's fun for families to come to," Karr says.

Finally, there will also be live performances throughout the day on Saturday, including headliners Hey Ocean!, local children's performer Ira Pettle, magician Travis Bernhardt and world music act John Welsh & Los Valientes.

"We have a lot of great musicians to showcase on Thursday and Saturday," Karr says. "We have Hey Ocean! coming from Vancouver then a local corner focused on local musicians like Cat Madden playing through the day. With three days of the festival, we have a lot of time to showcase everyone."

For more information on the Squamish Wind Festival visit squamishwindfestival.com.

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