By David F. Rooney
Spirit Fest — the most exciting 12 days of the year are set to begin on Thursday, January 31, and everyone in town — visitors and residents, young and old — are invited to join in the fun.
Started in 2010 to help celebrate the Winter Olympics and to replace the moribund Winter Festival, Spirit Fest injects some zesty zing into the mid-winter period.
This year will see the return of favourite events like the Rail Jam and Outhouse Races (both to be held downtown) and the expansion of the popular Top Bloke Contest to include a Top Chick Contest, both at the Last Drop Pub.
While you can click here to see the brochure, here are some of the highlights:
Thursday, January 31: Catch the Totally Board Film Series at The Cabin. It’s showing a number of films during Spirit Fest. The titles have not yet been firmed up but they’ll start at 8 pm on the nights they are being shown. Please consult the online brochure for the dates.
Friday, February 1: The Railway Museum is offering its terrific Coffee Club program that features Railroader Tales from 2 until 3 pm. You can follow that up with Grizzlies Hockey at 7 pm or the Top Chick Contest from 7 until 10 pm at the Last Drop or, if you’re too young to go to a bar try the Youth Open Jam from 7:30 until 9:30 pm at the United Church.
Saturday, February 2: Red Sky’s The Great Mountain family show is a must-see for families with kids at the Performing Arts Centre. The Great Mountain, which starts at 11 am, is an eco-adventure story in the guise of an action-packed play that entertains and empowers the imaginations of children and families alike. When Nuna starts hearing things she can’t figure out, her Grandmother realizes that she has inherited the ability to hear the spirits of rushing rivers and soaring mountains. This begins a journey across a raging river to a melting glacier where the spirit of the great mountain weeps.
Once you’ve seen that with the kids why not attend the family-pleasing Carousel of Nations from 4 – 7 pm. It has all the great food, music, kids’ activities and dance that Revelstoke families have come to expect and this year it will include music by the fabulous Mexican-Cuban band, Locarno. Locarno is the Latin project of Juno award winning musician and Paperboys frontman, Tom Landa. The music, like him, is part Mexican but with strong doses of Cuban son, folk music, pop and funk. There are threads of Son Jarocho and Salsa but the songs are more edgy and contemporary than that. The music could be compared to Manu Chao, Ozomatli or Rodrigo and Gabriela but although there are similarities it is truly original and a new flavour in the Latin music genre.
Sunday, February 3: This is perfect for those who enjoy mountain sports ’cause RMR is hosting Spirit Day up on the mountain from 9 am until 5 pm. What better way to cap a day on the slopes than enjoying a Murder Mystery Dinner at Benoit’s Wine Bar at 6 pm
Monday, February 4: You can enjoy half-price fondue at Benoit’s at 5 pm and then move on to The Cabin for some Retro Glow Bowling from 6 until 10.
Tuesday, February 5: You can try your hand at Dog Sledding at RMR at 3 pm and then, if you’re in a Tiger Woods-frame of mind, break out your putter for the Stoke FM Golf Challenge. There is no set time for that but it is happening at various local drinking establishments. You could even time it to catch Buckman Coe at the Last Drop at 9.
Wednesday, February 6: This is a very active day with something for everyone! There’s a Brown Bag Lunch at the Museum & Archives at 12:15, then a Seniors’ Mixed Bowling Tourney at The Cabin from 12:30 until 4 and the Last Drop Ski Race at RMR at 1 pm. There’s also a Waitangi Day celebration at the Last Drop starting at 7 pm in honour of our Kiwi cousins. Corin Raymond is playing at Benoit’s Wine Bar from 8 until 10 pm and it’s Wicked Wednesday at the River City Pub from 9 pm until 2 am.
Thursday, February 7: It’s Market Day at the Community Centre and there will be some timely additions to the usual fare from 2 until 5 pm. What kind of additions you may ask? You’ll just have to go and see. The Cabin is hosting an art show with a live art performance from 6 until 11 pm. If you’re really feeling lucky try your hand at the Knights of Pythias Bingo at the Community Centre starting at 6:30. If you really are lucky you can spend your winnings at the Performing Arts Centre to catch ABBA Again at 7:30 pm or the Last Drop where you can catch Shane Phillip in performance at 9:30 or wander down to the River City Pub to see Delhi2Dublin at 11 pm.
Friday, February 8: If you have youngsters why not take advantage of the Parent-Tot Skate at The Forum from 19:30 am until 2 pm. It’ll set Mom or Dad back a couple of bucks but kids under 3 are free. There’s Drop-in Curling at the Curling Club from 6 until 9 pm and there’s plenty of music in town, too. There’s a Youth Battle of the Bands at the Community Centre at 8 pm, Jam Night at Benoit’s at 9 pm and if you wanna see who’s gonna be this year’s Top Bloke pop by the Last Drop at 8 pm.
Saturday, February 9: By now Spirit Fest is starting to wind down but don’t despair! There are still some really great events for you. The Canadian Avalanche Centre is hosting Avalanche Awareness Days all day on Boulder Mountain and it’s following up on that with a party at the Last Drop in the evening. Most of the action, however, is all centered around Mackenzie Avenue. There’s a Great Chili Cook-Off with local restaurants offering their take on the classic dish. You can stroll around town and try each eatery’s offering from 2-5 pm. You can take a break from the chili at 3 pm for the ever-hilarious Outhouse Race, followed by the Best in Show dog show from 3 until 4 and then the Rail Jam from 4 until 9. There’s also a terrific art show and silent auction, Anything Goes III, at the Visual Arts Centre at 320 Wilson. Last year’s show was a stunner and this year should be the same. This is a major fund-raiser for The Centre. Please note that a typo in the printed brochures distributed around town erroneously state that the show is from 3 until 7 pm. In fact, it does not begin until 7 pm.
Sunday, February 10: The Nordic Ski Club is offering Cross-Country Ski Clinics at its Mount Macpherson facility on Highway 23 South from 9 until 11 am and from 1 until 3 pm. The Chamber of Commerce’s popular Amazing Race is set to begin at 11 am and will conclude at 5 pm. Call the Chamber at 250-837-5345 for details. If you’re not tuckered out you can catch the Spirit Fest Wrap Up Dinner at the Community Centre at 6 pm or drop by the Last Drop to catch the Swing Monkeys.
If you’re interested in the Amazing Race here are some details that you may want to read:
“Based on the popular TV show, teams of 2 race around the city following route markers and navigating a series of clues to get from one checkpoint to another” says Chamber of Commerce Tourism Coordinator Meghan Tabor. “Along the way, teams will encounter Route Markers, Road Blocks and Detours where certain challenges and activities have to be completed by at least one member of the team in order for them to continue. Teams will have to use creative problem solving skills, negotiation, and strategy to work their way through unique challenges, fun detours and a variety of interactive tasks before racing to the finish line. Cost: $20/team. Register your team of 2 at the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce by February 6.”
Monday, February 11: The last Spirit Events are a Parent-Tot Skate at the Forum from 9 am until 1 pm and Cordwood Curling at the Community Centre from 1 until 4 pm.