The Winnipeg International Children’s Festival may be turning 30 this year, but that doesn’t mean they’ve grown up and forgotten how to have fun.
“Now we’ve got kids that went back in the 80s are coming back with their own kids, and we’ve got artists like Al Simmons who are bringing their grandkids,” laughed festival executive producer Neal Rempel, who’s been involved with the event since the beginning. “We’re starting to span the generational time warp.”
The annual celebration of everything children—commonly called Kidsfest—is taking over the banks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers at The Forks starting Thursday with another packed weekend of musicians, magicians, storytellers and activities for the young and young at heart.
“It’s a ton of fun, a ton of great shows, a ton of laughs,” said Rempel. “It’s really cool how Winnipeg supports their festivals—I don’t think you could do it like this anywhere else in the country.”
Toronto based entertainer, John Parks who goes by the name ‘the Funny Waiter’ when he’s on stage spinning plates and juggling chickens, is one of 16 acts scheduled to perform at this year’s festival. The variety performer confirms Winnipeg is well known for having some of the most enthusiastic audiences in the country.
“This is a prestigious festival to attend—it’s well run and it’s one of the premier summer festivals in Canada,” said Park, who’s making his third appearance at the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival this year. “The crowds are great and the kids are always a blast to perform in front of.”
The Winnipeg International Children’s Festival runs until Sunday, and festival-goers are encouraged to help support the festival by donating $1 for every year the event has been around.
“It’s a fundraising campaign tied into our 30th anniversary this year because we want to make sure the festival is around for another 30 years,” explained Rempel. “We’re asking people to donate $30 for 30 years because I can’t imagine Winnipeg without a children’s festival.”
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at any Winnipeg Safeway location for $14 each or $48 for a family of four. Tickets at the gate sell for $16 each or $56 for a family pack of four. The festival is free for kids under two, and kids under 12 only need to pay once for the entire festival provided they keep their wristbands on.
For more information and to check out this year’s line up go to kidsfest.ca.