Children’s Festival features Shrek


A new children’s festival taking place this weekend won’t be affected by freaky Alberta weather.Linda Besseling puts on bike helmet properly. Photo by Richard Amery
“Over the years there have been children’s festivals but no real big one day event that the weather wouldn’t be interfering with,” said Doug Kryzanowski, Exhibition Park marketing manager adding there will be 70 booths featuring a variety of activities and events appealing to both children and their parents, and most importantly all under one roof so the weather wouldn’t affect the show.

The 2011 Lethbridge Children’s Festival, which is not related to previous children’s festivals downtown, takes place all day long, April 16.
“We’ve been planning this for a year,” he continued adding it has been a challenge doing it on a minimal budget.

“It has really evolved,” he said adding there will be everything from bike safety to Shrek plus pets, First Nations performances, Rainbow the Clown, children’s author Patricia Atchison, singer/songwriters/ magicians and ventriloquists Peter and Mary, a reptile party and a lot of other fun activities. He said one of the goals was to keep the event affordable.

 One of the highlights will be the half hour performance “Come Stomp With Shrek,” which is on stage at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. with a meet and greets after each performance.

“It’s a new show about me forgetting my wedding anniversary,” said Shrek, aka actor Tom King, who is looking forward to donning the popular Dreamworks ogre’s seven foot tall mascot costume.
“It is a very much an audience participation show. There is Shrek and Fiona and a special character called the Funky Forest Fairy, a party planner from Far, Far Away,” King said of the production, which runs at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
“ They try to get Shrek to agree to dance, which he doesn’t want to do,” he said.

“Well it’s hard to get Shrek to do anything. He just wants to sit in his swamp,” he continued adding since it was created last summer, the production has toured all over Canada from P.E.I to Vancouver.
“It’s great to play Shrek. He’s just a big, giant goofball,” he continued, slipping into Shrek’s Scottish accent though he won’t be doing it during the performance due to an agreement with Dreamworks, but he will be playing up Shrek’s physicality.

 While there is a Shrek musical running on Broadway, he said this show isn’t designed to compete with it.

A serious, but fun note to the festivities is The Kiwanis Safety City, which will be running a variety of activities including a bike rodeo.
“We’re going to giddy up and go to the bike rodeo,” said Linda Besseling, executive director of  Safety City adding nine other communities will be doing bike rodeos with Safety City this Spring.
“The purpose of the rodeo is to lead the kids through bike and helmet safety,” she added.

“ There will also be a rollover simulator and of course the rodeo. We encourage kids to bring their bikes and helmets to make sure they are properly fitted. If the helmet is on properly, there is an 85 per cent better chance of not getting hurt, ” she continued adding while the rodeo and other safety related activities have an important message, the most important thing is they are fun.

“And each child receives a goodie bag,” she said adding the rodeo is going to be full of fun activities including an obstacle course.
“ Our goals are to increase awareness, enhance knowledge and engage young citizens and their caregivers. We want to get the kids ready for the Spring and Summer bike riding season,” she continued.

“It’s going to be a seriously fun event,” she said adding she is looking forward to being part of the festival.
“It’s a nice opportunity for families to spend time together at a fun event,” she said.
The 2011 Lethbridge Children’s Festival takes place in the South and North Pavilions of Exhibition Park from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission is five dollars for adults, three dollars for age 12-17, two dollars fro 3-11 and children under two get in for free.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

A version of this article appears in the April 13, 2011, edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times

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