Take first peek at Queenstown Games village

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The Winter Games downtown village hub in Queenstown is open – as buzz builds ahead of today’s grand opening ceremony. 

The hub, dubbed the Lotto Village, features a stage for live bands which was being used this morning for sound check by exciting funky blues duo Swamp Thing (top, and bottom left) who play tonight from 7pm. Queenstown group Ghettoblaster kick off the music at 3pm. 

They’ll wrap up before the 2013 Games opening ceremony and athletes parade from 5pm. 

Other features of the new village set-up include a Luxury Lounge, which will host Big Wednesday sponsored |
luxury hours with complimentary wine and cheese. A Powerball bar is also available – plus a big screen for watching live Winter Games sport action from up the ski slopes. 

Most athletes have arrived for the 10-day extravaganza – including British celebrity Heather Mills who is competing in the adaptive slalom. 

Mills dotted down at Queenstown Airport yesterday afternoon and has wasted no time with her preparation – she was spotted going hard on an exercise bike at Queenstown Gym earlier today. 

A village is also available in Wanaka on Ardmore Street and opens tomorrow morning. 

Athletes who make the podium will be at the villages throughout the festival for almost daily medal ceremonies in the late afternoon. 

Audi quattro Winter Games NZ festivals manager Malcolm Blakey welcomes people down to the villages. 

“With help from Lotto and Central Lakes Trust we’ve been able to create two fantastic hubs where anyone can enjoy a drink, watch the action on TV and get information about any aspect of the Games. You’ll also be able to buy tickets there for the Phoenix Foundation, Tahuna Breaks and the Adventure Film Festival,” he says.

“With two of New Zealand’s biggest bands playing and an awesome programme of international adventure movies we’re keeping things pumping for everyone downtown as well as on the mountain.”

The Queenstown village opens at 1pm today and will be open till 8pm daily during the games. The Wanaka village stays open till 7pm each day.