February 16 2010 by Julie Drossos
The 2010 Winter Olympic games (or as some are calling it - the Spring Olympics - due to Vancouver's warm and sunny climate these past few days) have been going strong for just a few days now, and the excitement continues to build. Sunday night the lid was pretty much blown off the city as locals, joined by tourists alike, celebrated Canada's first gold medal (by French-Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau) of the games in the Men's Moguls. Bilodeau's victory made him the first Canadian to win a gold medal on Canadian soil, an achievement definitely worth celebrating. I'm looking forward to this Thursday when I am lucky enough to attend the Women's 1000 meter speed skating finals. I've heard that speed skating can be one of the most exciting and exhilarating events to watch live, so I'm pretty excited. In the meantime, I've been occupying my time taking in the buzz around the city, and enjoying the party atmosphere. If you're looking to let loose a little bit, here are just a few of the most talked about parties in town that you should try to make time to drop in on.
Holland Heineken House
Since first opening its doors at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Heineken House has earned a reputation as "The Party" to attend during the games. Traditionally it serves as a meeting and celebration point for Dutch athletes participating in the games, their families, and officials, however at Heineken House they warmly welcome 4,000 revelers daily to share in their fun. The main hall at Heineken House features celebratory medal ceremonies (for Dutch athletes of course) as well as nightly performances by Dutch artists and DJs. In the daytime you can do everything from surf the internet, shop, get health checks, partake in virtual reality Olympic games, take in the live sports action on the big screens, eat, drink and be merry. Heineken House is open every day during the games from 9am to 2pm, but be prepared - due to the legendary popularity of the venue plus the fact that it's free to get in - to wait in a long line-up (read - wear comfortable shoes... Olympic parties are not place to make a fashion statement - it's all about comfort and fun!). I'll be making my first trip to Heineken House this Thursday so I'll be sure to report back next week on if it lived up to the hype. Check out this cool "tour" of Holland Heineken house. And for a real idea of just how much fun you can have at Heineken House, check out this YouTube clip.
Another party with a quieter yet still legendary reputation is at Saxony House. Saxony, though only a very unknown state in Germany, is hosting one of the most expensive, glittery, fun parties at the 2010 games. Lucky enough to get to take over the historic Vancouver Rowing Club located downtown in Stanley Park, this party is chocked full of huge kegs, live music, traditional German fare (think sausage and sauerkraut) and beer, beer and more beer. Be ready to dance and rock out to lively German music by live band "De Erbschleicer", who will perform from 6pm-11pm every evening. After 11pm you can dance the night away as the DJ plays House, 70's & 80's tunes that will keep you going until 2am during the week and 4am on weekends. Saxony House opens every day from 12noon onwards, so go early and enjoy some of the Olympic action on the big screens and take a load off as you prepare for a night of beer, sausage and dancing.
Don't forget that Vancouver is only part of the 2010 games... Whistler Mountain is host to some of the games' most exciting sporting events, and also to some of the best parties as well. "Whistler Live!" has taken over Whistler village and includes big screens throughout the village with live action from all Olympic events, family entertainment during the day including street performances, arts & crafts, storytellers and photo opportunities (don't miss out on getting your photo taken in the OMEGA Bobsled), pride-filled medal ceremonies in the Medals Plaza, and most exciting - a killer concert line-up including acts such as Feist, Bare Naked Ladies, and Usher to name a few. Whistler Live! Is open from 1:30pm to 9pm every day during the games. For a full schedule of events click here.
Can't make it to Vancouver and want to get a real view of some of Vancouver and Whistler's Olympic venues? Check out this cool Google Street View website. Alright, that's it for now, I have to squeeze in a couple hours of work at my day job so I can head back out into the streets of Vancouver and rock out Olympic style. I'll touch base again next week!