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L.A. Beat

Family Festival fulfils the mandate of family friendly New Years Eve fun

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 If you are looking for a fun family New Year’s Eve, then check out the sixteenth annual New Year‘s Eve Family Fest at Exhibition Park.Doug  Kryzanowski is looking forward to  Family Fest at Exhibition Park, New Years Eve. Photo by Richard Amery
The popular annual event  attracts an average of 6,500 people each year who enjoy a variety of  family-friendly activities geared toward the 12 and under set,  including face-painting,  numerous astro jumps and clowns roaming through the crowd.

“Sixteen years ago, we asked ourselves what could we do for the kids,” noted Doug  Kryzanowski manager if corporate relations, marketing  Events and Entertainment. He noted the family festival is a way for Exhibition Park to give back to the community, so all of the activities are free.

“It’s our contribution to the community,” he said.

He noted  since the Exhibition was formed, their mandate has been  to provide a gathering place for the community.

“So this event is just fulfilling our mandate,” he said.

“ We have a plethora of astro jumps, and perennial favourite Rainbow the Clown is back,” he enthused.

They have a lot of generous local businesses who step up to help fund the event.

  To make things even more affordable, you can get  a hot dog, pop and bag of chips for three dollars.
“It’s hard to beat that,” he observed.

 The attractions include the astro jumps, Wally Woo Hoo the clown, Rainbow the Clown, who will also be performing magic and Andi’s Petting Zoo. There will be face painting by Criss Wiebe Face Painting and Face FX as well as WHOOSH airbrush tattoos. There will also be colouring courtesy of the a Colouring Contest and  the Krayon Campus and for really young ones,  the Agape Day Care Centre.

 There will also be live entertainment on the Movie Mill entertainment stage from Dance Works, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Cloggers. Rainbow the Clown will also be performing magic on the stage.
 Doors open at 6 p.m. with the event concluding at 10 p.m.

Rainbow the Clown is back for Family Fest. Photo submitted
 A lot of people attend the event, so Kryzanowski preached patience for all participants especially as when there are so many people in the  pavilions, long lines for some of the activities are unfortunately just going to be a fact of life.
“Patience is a virtue,” he said.

“It’s a warm, fuzzy, fun filled event,” he said.

He noted approximately 100 volunteers are needed to help the event operate smoothly. They are responsible for a variety of activities like monitoring the astro jumps ( two per jump) when they work their two and a half hour shifts. Call 403-317-3206 to volunteer.

 There are a couple minor changes, not the least of which is this is the second year in which there won’t be any fireworks.
“It’s a weather issue,” he said.

“And it’s a weekend, so we think that probably means if the weather is good attendance will probably be up,” he predicted.
They put on this event for two reasons.

“Number one it’s for the community and number two, we need to do it because it is part of our mandate,” he said.
“Over the years the exhibition happened to be a meeting place for people. During the depression or during the  world wars, people always expected that the exhibition would be a meeting place for people,” he continued adding other events like the children’s festival in April and Whoop-Up Days during the summer continue to cater to that mandate.

“So while it is a way for us to show community appreciation but it also spills over into other events like Whoop-Up Days,” he said.

 A version of this story appears in the Dec. 28,2011 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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