With just over two weeks to spare until the big day, organizers have finally revealed their plans to commemorate the one-year anniversary for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
While the Whistler Winter Arts Festival takes place throughout the month of February, the main event is a three-day event dubbed Celebrate Live, planned to take place over the Olympic anniversary weekend.
From Friday, Feb. 11 to Sunday, Feb. 13, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and Whistler Arts Council (WAC) are working collaboratively to produce the three-day party, in hopes of recreating some of the Olympic energy that we all felt this time last year.
"We wanted to bring back a little bit of the magic from the Games," explained Kim Vanlochem, communications officer for the RMOW.
Doti Niedermayer, Executive Director for WAC, isn't quite as ambitious.
"We do not have that international crowd, we do not have all those athletes, and we do not have that crazy spirit that took us all away! I think it's impossible to recreate," she reflected.
"I think in this case, it's just a salute!"
Either way you look at it, some solid talent has been booked to headline each evening: Canadian R&B singer Jully Black, who was part of our Paralympic experience, is returning on Friday night, while acclaimed spoken word artist, Shane Koyczan (he delivered the memorable "We Are More" poem at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Vancouver last year) and musician Hannah Georgas are both on the bill for Saturday. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, children's entertainers Bobs & LoLo take the stage.
But there's something distinctly different about our one-year anniversary celebrations, at least when it comes to the headlining performances: they're ticketed events. Musical acts and headlining entertainers are performing at Millennium Place rather than on an outdoor stage.
According to Vanlochem, organizers simply wanted to drive people down to Whistler's future cultural hub, the Whistler Olympic Plaza.
"It worked really well because we wanted to bring the attention back down to the Whistler Olympic Plaza, which is really going to be a community gathering place once it is finished this summer, she said.
"So its an opportunity, really, to put the focus back on that end of Whistler Village and sort of draw people to what will be a great legacy from the Games.
"The great thing about Millennium Place is that we don't have to worry about rainy days or anything like that."
And as Niedermayer pointed out, they are working with considerably fewer resources in this post-Game period, which makes erecting and dismantling a stage in the Village (which costs approximately $16,000) much more difficult. The total funding for the month of the Whistler Winter Arts Festival is $100,000, with $50,000 coming from the Province's 2010 Sport and Arts Legacy Fund and $50,000 coming from the RMOW's 2011 Village Animation fund.