Kidsfest is growing up. It's turning 30 years old.
The annual Winnipeg International Children's Festival has launched a fundraising campaign, "$30 for 30 Years." Al Simmons and Fred Penner are Honourary co-chairs of the campaign and they're asking people to donate $30 (representing a dollar for every year) to keep the festival going for another 30 years. The goal of the campaign is $30,000.
It's tough raising funds in the current economic climate. Neal Rempel is the Executive Producer of the Winnipeg International Children's Festival.
"Obviously many festivals, arts organizations, charities and non-profits across the country are looking at new ways to raise money given the economic climate and corporate downturn," he says. We're always looking at new fundraising ideas."
The event officially started with a "Clown Hop" on Friday, March 30. Hundreds of pint-sized kids came to boogy down to The Forks in their best clown outfits. And there was plenty of circus entertainment on hand, including High Strung Aerial Dance, Underground Circus, Silly People, and Mike "I'm Clearly" Battie.
"The neatest part about the "Clown Hop" was seeing all that talent in one spot," said Al Simmons. "They were all performing at once. It wasn't like a 3-ring circus, it was more like a 20-ring circus!"
Simmons has been involved in the festival since the beginning. His children attended the festival into their teen years. And now his four grandchildren also attend - three generations!
"The Children's Festival is a huge part of our lives," he enthuses. "I've grown up as a father at the Festival. My eldest son, Karl, taught me to be a dad in those early years. Kidsfest taught us to have fun as a family."
The "Clown Hop" also wrapped up the Festival of Fools at The Forks.
Kidsfest takes place this year June 7 - 10 at The Forks. The festival plans to literally take over the grounds with numerous venues, including "big top" tents, and fabulous entertainment, such as theatre, dance, storytelling and music. While the whole lineup has not yet been announced, Al Simmons and Fred Penner are both confirmed as headliners.