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May the Fourth be with you for this year’s Children’s festival

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Star Wars soars for  the seventh annual Lethbridge Children’s Festival which celebrates Star Wars weekend with a variety of Star Wars related activities d May 4 and 5.Darth Vader and Chewbacca hanging out with robot Yoda. Photo by Richard Amery.
There will be several Star Wars themed activities happening during the popular annual family event, including a meet and greet and photo opportunities with Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren and the Star Wars van.

“There’s a slew of stuff. We have a lot going on for this children’s festival,” said Exhibition park marketing manager Doug Kryzanowski.
 The hours are Friday, May 4 from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday May 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

There will be over 21 entertainment and interactive events happening this year , plus a trade show, special guests and much more.
 While in previous years, some events were pay as you go, this year everything is free of charge with your $5 admission.

“We have a lot of great entertainment lined up this year for children’s festival, not only Star Wars things, but it is May 4 and Star Wars weekend, so we wanted to do a little bit of stuff based around that. But we have a lot of great children’s entertainment this year and a lot of new things this year,” said  entertainment co-ordinator Jackie French.

“One of our main acts this year is a motivational educational guy name Steve Harmer who does a motivational magic show. He’s toured western Canada he’s gone to a lot of schools, he has chosen to combine his skills as an educator and an entertainer to present motivational magic to communicate all across Western Canada. Though the use of his magic, juggling, comedy, music and storytelling, Steve delivers meaningful message that inspire educate and motivate children and adults,” she described.

 Harmer will be performing a couple shows a day on the Movie Mill Stage, located in the South Pavilion at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.Doug Kryzanowski announces the highlights of this year’s Children’s Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
 “We also have Princess story-time. The princesses attending will be Rapunzel, Cinderella and Beauty. They will be doing an awesome stage show and storytelling show in full costumes as well as doing a singalong  with the kids,” French continued.

 After each show, twice a day they will be doing meet and greets in the enchanted forest at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m..
 “In our Star Wars interactive area we’ll be doing photo ops with Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren and the Star Wars van will be there. We encourage adults as well as kids to come dressed as your favourite Star Wars Character and have a chat with robotic Yoda. We will also have the Black Shadow Clone trooper mini-car in  that Star Wars interactive areas,” French said.

There will be more Star Wars photo ops with 501 first Legion Vader’s Fist.
 “They come dressed in costume and they accept donations, which are going straight to BACA (Bikers against Child abuse.).”
 Back by popular demand, VRKADE virtual reality games returns and the main pavilion will be dedicated to inflatable jumps. Wendy and the Frosty will be visiting including visits from Frosty Cup and the red heady Wendy girl herself.

 In addition to Star Wars, the Ghostbusters, Stay Puft and Ectro Truck will be on hand throughout the festival for photo opportunities.
There are several new features this year including laser tag from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day in the South Pavilion.
“New this year there will be a big area in South Pavilion for laser tag. So all the kids can come play laser tag,” she said.

 There will also be plenty of critter related activities including a new daily dog show from Redline Dog Sports at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
“We’ll also have a dog show with agility, and you can pat the dog after the show. We will have a large area set up in the South Pavilion with bleachers ,” she added.
 Also animal related, the Petland Petting Zoo returns by popular demand from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Main Pavilion as does the South Country Petting zoo  in the South Pavilion.
If the kids want to create, there will be a big Lego activity area.Darth Vader makes an entrance. Photo by Richard Amery


“New this year were gonna have a Lego park located in the South Pavilion. So it’s all going to be big blocks Lego so we don’t have to worry about any of the kids choking or chewing on the Lego,” she said.

 “We’re going have a big area where they can come and explore and create whatever they want to create. We’re going to have some building blocks there as well,” French continued.

Several other popular activities return including the always popular kids pedal racing tack and  the ATCO colouring area.
 There will also be several new activities outside this year, perhaps giving participants a preview of Whoop-Up Days including a food truck alley.
“We will have picnic tables similar to what we do for Whoop Up Days, so there will be a wide selection of of food trucks”, she said adding they will also have an extreme reverse bungee jump set up outside as well.

“And that is a lot of fun for kids and adults,” she continued.
There will be other fun as well with roaming butterflies and a hula hoop workshop for kids and adults once a day in the South Pavilion, at 1 p.m. each day.
“Come and put your swing hips on and try out that hula hoop workshop.”

Over 60 exhibitors are already registered for the always popular festival trade show in North Pavilion.  It is almost full, but there is still room for a few more. If you need a break from the kids, there will be an E-Free Shop and tot drop drop watch area.

 “We’re doing it by donation in past years. This time it’s completely free to drop off your kid off in play area and go shop in the trade show,” she said.
As an added incentive to visit every booth, there will be maps available at the information station, which you can get stamped at each booth.

 Children will be able to enter their names in a big draw for a larger prize.

There are no advance tickets. All tickets at gate for $5, parking is free.

 A version of this story appears in the April 25, 2018  edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
—By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
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