Kerry Thiessen is preparing for one the largest events Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre will see this year.

The man in charge of food and beverages is expecting to entertain 400 to 500 curlers and guests at the 53rd Annual International Bonspiel that begins March 24.

He wasn’t in this position last year, but he has heard about the line ups at the bar. So, this year, he has arranged for an additional bar to be set up in the lower lobby.

Susanne Bertrand, the co-chair of the bonspiel, says the event has been twice as large as this year’s. But she is still counting on some late entries.

It appears the Easter Weekend and spring break has conspired to keep many of the teams away.

After 53 years, it is difficult to come up with new ideas, but the attempt is there: The bonspiel will be held in conjunction with the casino that will offer chances at Black Jack and Wheel of Fortune from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Air North tickets will be the grand prize and proceeds will go to the Lions Club and Mount McIntyre.

Another twist this year is the volunteer and sponsor appreciation wine and cheese. It is held at the same time as the Skookum Super League’s final night.

But, will the ice be in prime shape?

“Oh yes, definitely,” says Thiessen immediately. “Our ice maker is here round the clock.

“The comments I hear is our ice is among the best anywhere.”