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Taking it to the street

Downtown Squamish will soon be alive and dancing to the sounds of an eclectic mix of local and international music and visual art.

Downtown Squamish will soon be alive and dancing to the sounds of an eclectic mix of local and international music and visual art.

Along Cleveland Avenue and underneath the canopy of a huge concert tent, artists and performers will come together to celebrate Squamish's Olympic future with the citizens of the community in a first annual festival known as Wild at Art - Squamish Winter Arts Festival.

Being billed as an event where artists and performers come together in an interactive venue for all ages, the festival will showcase a wide variety of musical performances, visual arts and a healthy mix of Squamish's international culture.

The event takes place on Saturday, Feb, 28 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

"It's definitely been a community-based festival. Everyone has been amazing," said festival co-ordinator Jan Durocher. "It's been a real grass-roots festival effort, everyone has been great trying to get things together."

Wild at Art will also feature hands-on activities for kids, gold panning with world champion panner Yukon Dan, street performers playing hand-made instruments and craftspeople displaying their wares in streetside tents.

"This festival is such an important step to establish arts and culture in this community," said festival volunteer Joanna Schwarz.

"Culture is one of the Olympic pillars, and it's the Committee's intent to take full advantage of any opportunities leading to the building of our own arts centre down the road."

The entire festival is seen as an Olympic-bound celebration for our community to showcase the talented and numerous artists and individuals in the community.

"We envision this event to flourish into a week-long event as we get closer to the Olympics," said Durocher. "Whistler will have events to celebrate the opening of the Games, and Squamish will celebrate the Games as they come to a close."

The musical line-up for Wild at Art mixes a large dose of local talent highlighted by the Celtic rock energy of Vancouver's Tiller's Folly, who will play on the main stage at 3:30 p.m.

All day long, various musical acts will perform live from four different locations, including Pause Café, Chef Big D's, Newport Gallery and Nothing Finer.

Performers include Davey's Locker, Cam Salay and the Paperboys, Rhythm Method, The Shifters, Gord Durocher, Paul Coulter-Brown, D&W Brubaker, HSSS Musical, East Indian dancers, the Black Tusk Pipe Band and International Folk Dancers.

The former Stedman's building (next to the Pause Café) is going to be transformed into the Wild at Art Gallery, and will feature more than 20 local visual artists, and local filmmaker Adriane Polo will be showing clips from each of her three feature films - Treasure Mountain, Wild Wind and the recently completed Big Bank Theory.

Members of the Squamish First Nations add some spice to the event with a display of wood carvings and native art.

To add to the Olympic feel of the event, a bonfire will heat up the day symbolizing unity and international goodwill.

"This is for the entire community of Squamish," said Durocher. "It's going to be for anybody and everybody."

For more information, call 604-892-5217.