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Interrupt winter with family fun

by Doris Fleck

Granville Island’s family-friendly Winterruption Festival will be melting the winter blues away with hot maple flavoured chocolate, delectable food, colourfully costumed stick walkers, and lively musical performances. In its 12th year, Winterruption will be showcasing a new covered venue called The Forge that will be the hub of the February 18-19 weekend festival.

The Forge, a former chain factory, “is a metaphor for the energy and hot excitement that’s going to happen in there during the festival,” says Manager, Public Affairs and Programming, Lisa Ono. “It’s under cover and in the centre of the island which will really make it the festival hub,” she explains. “We’re really excited about this change because in past years the events have been fairly spread out.”

One whole wall of The Forge will be transformed into a magical mural. Ola Volo, a 27-year-old Coquitlam artist, is known for her imaginatively detailed animal creations and will be painting the mural throughout the festival. She has already constructed a massive mural along Vancouver’s seawall. “People can watch it being created before their eyes,” Ono says. “It will be a lasting legacy from this year’s Winterruption.”

The Forge will also be home to another weekend-long creative endeavour. Geared for kids and using tons of cardboard, Ono explains, “We’re going to create a mini Granville Island.” There will be some basic pieces in place when the festival kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday.  Plus folks from the Vancouver Children’s Festival will be on hand to help the kids or adults who want to join in, put pieces together, paint and color the buildings and use their imagination. “As it evolves over the weekend, I think it’s going to turn into an art piece of its own,” she says.

With about 70,000 people projected to come to Winterruption over the weekend, Ono likens it to a really busy summer day on Granville Island. “This is a really family friendly event and it’s designed that way. From little kids to all ages and all members of the family it’s something to experience together.” For moms and dads with smaller tots there’s a whole gym with a bouncy castle, toy cars, teeter totters, slides, hoops, balls and more crafts.

From Pop Up Dances in unexpected places to Chix on Stix walking on 10-foot tall stilts as magical dragonflies, there are over 40 art, craft, food, theatre and musical events or activities, many of which are free or cost very little. Face painting is one of the most popular but kids can also create their own ocean creature toy or engage in an interactive musical experience with Rub Loops who uses instruments from around the globe

Maples Sugar Shack offers a workshop on the art of maple sugaring on the West Coast and a demonstration of how to turn sap into maple syrup. Then visitors are encouraged to take part in Canada’s oldest tradition of making maple taffy candy by putting the maple syrup on snow (or ice if the weather is warm).

The most expensive event is the Granville Island Market Tour. Specifically geared for foodies, over 20 signature Canadian foods will be tasted including local cheeses, sourdough bread, B.C. produce, melt-in-your-mouth donuts and much more. Ono says the $54.99 price tag for the Island food tour has good value: “You’d be amazed at how much food you actually end up eating.”

With ticketed jazz concerts and free sculpture demonstrations, Ono says, “This festival gives people an idea of the diversity on Granville Island. Every visit provides something new and unexpected.”

A complete schedule of events can be found at www.granvilleisland.com/winterruption.

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