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Friday’s opening ceremonies for the 2010 Paralympic Games will once again put Canada on the international stage, but the producer of the show said he hopes the athletes are the true stars.

“We want to inspire the world Canadian-style but we also want to inspire the Paralympians,” said producer Patrick Roberge.

“We hope that the celebratory tone of our ceremony will send them out of here incredibly enthusiastic.”

While the budget for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics was $38 million, the total budget for all Paralympic ceremonies is just under $6 million.

Vancouver-based Roberge will also produce the closing ceremonies, which will be held outdoors in Whistler on March 21.

The cast of 5,000 for Friday’s show includes performers with disabilities wearing specially modified costumes that take into account the equipment they use to get around.

The biggest challenge hasn’t been working around their needs or those of the athletes, he said.

What Roberge had to deal with was a stadium that was off limits during the Olympics. It’s meant jamming two months of rehearsals into the last seven days.

The show will involve some big-name Canadian artists, said Roberge, as well as familiar elements like the flag raising and the athletes’ parade. There will also be multiple cauldrons lit, including one on the Vancouver waterfront and in Whistler.

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