Inspired by a five-year-old’s question “who looks after the animals” after a trip to the Calgary Zoo, Airdrie Children’s Festival Society (ACFS) founder Pete Lewis felt compelled to create a community-wide event to answer this and other great questions. With the help of the inaugural board and a vision “to enrich the lives of children and celebrate our cultural diversity, “the annual Airdrie Children’s Festival was born.
Going into its third year, with the 2020 festival set for May 30 and 31, 2020, at Nose Creek Park in Airdrie, the event and its activities are designed to create curiosity, inspire creativity and remove fear. Wanting to remove barriers to participation, the ACFS has as one of its guiding principles that the festival must remain free for all to attend. “Let kids just be kids,” says Lewis. Kids and families are constantly bombarded with buy this or that so this is the one time that they can come out and be free from that.
With more than 6,000 visitors last year, the 2020 festival will be even better. The Inspiration Stations are the base for the festival. These hands-on, accelerated learning centres, hosted by businesses and organizations in the Calgary region, allow kids the chance to see, feel and learn about stuff they might not otherwise. Things like, who looks after the animals at the Calgary Zoo? Citywide workshops create windows into what could be possible, where kids have the chance to do things like work on cars with mechanics, write short stories with published authors, or go on-air with a local radio station. The Children’s Village is the uber play centre that consists of a variety of mazes, inflatables, and games that challenge kids’ minds, but are disguised as FUN.
Even the Shilo Storey, RE/MAX First Entertainment Stage is packed with performers who believe it is important to teach kids to be confident, to respect themselves and others, to love the environment around them and to dream BIG. Expect big fun and big laughs from CBC Kids TV and Juno Award nominees Will’s Jams, returnee Smilin’ Rylan and The Joe Show in 2020.
There is something for the BIG KIDS (the adults) too and it gives you a way to help! The AFCS hosts a single fundraiser each year. The second annual Comedy at the Bert takes place at Bert Church Theatre on March 28. With two headliners in Canadian travelling comics – Tim Nutt and Charles Haycock – expect a night of gut-busting hilarity. Tickets can be purchased on Facebook or through Bert Church via TicketPro.
More details at facebook.com/AirdrieChildrensFestival/