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Whistler Children's Festival sets attendance record

Also in arts news: chalk art hits the village, partiers head to Function



The Whistler Children's Festival saw record attendance last weekend with 6,500 people checking out the two-day event.

Last year, around 5,000 locals and visitors attended. This was the festival's 30th year and its first back in the village after moving from Creekside, where it had taken place for the last several years.

"We wanted to grow the event. We planned that moving it to a high-traffic location would increase attendance," event manager Patty Blomberg said in a release.

The festival included both family-friendly performances and workshops. This year 966 of 1,084 potential workshop spaces were filled, adding up to 89 per cent capacity. For 2012, by comparison, 75 per cent of spots sold.

"We are thrilled to have such high numbers," said Whistler Arts Council executive director Doti Niedermayer. "The enthusiasm we saw for the festival and from adults and children alike was exactly what we want to achieve year after year. The fact that the numbers were higher than ever was a bonus."

Chalk art returns

What was once the medium of choice for teachers has become a mind-boggling art form for artists who don't mind their work being washed away in the rain.

International master street painters will descend upon village stroll to create giant, 3D chalk art murals in renaissance and classical styles from July 18 to 21. The four artists will create massive murals and hold a two-day workshop to teach local artists the tricks of the trade. "They are a very new concept to Whistler and a dynamic visual art display," Whistler Street Entertainment coordinator Anna Solich said in a release. "When you stand at a certain angle the optical illusion pops, seeming at once realistic, stunning and almost disorienting."

The 3D chalk artists were a hit last year when they displayed their work in Whistler for the first time. Drawing inspiration from local surroundings they created rivers, animals and landscapes. "Last year was a huge success because visitors really enjoyed seeing the artists in action and posing at the murals," Solich said.

After learning chalk art techniques local artists will get in on the fun and show off their newly honed skills in Mountain Square.

Block pARTy time

Poor ol' Function Junction is always taking a back seat to its hustling and bustling counterpart, the village.

Pique should know — the neighbourhood is home to our office!) Finally, it's Function's time to shine with art, music and a big, old-fashion block party on July 25. The annual festivities are running in conjunction with ArtWalk, which technically takes place throughout all of Whistler, but is largely concentrated in the village.

From 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Millar Creek Road will be closed to vehicle traffic and opened up to partiers with stores from Olives Community Market to White Dog Studio Gallery displaying art. Local musicians, including Animal Nation and The Sociables, will also perform.

To get you out to our neck of the woods Canadian Wilderness Adventures will be shuttling folks from the village taxi loop every 30 minutes. The event is free, but you're encouraged to pick up some art.

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