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Annual children’s festival promising hands-on fun

Circus Montreal will entertain and conduct workshops during the Children's Arts Festival.

It has a new name and focus, but organizers of a popular Fort Macleod event promise the family fun enjoyed the previous 11 years.
The Fort Macleod Children’s Arts Festival will be hosted at the arena by the Allied Arts Council at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7.
The council added “arts” to the annual festival’s name to better fit the mandate of Allied Arts.
“We felt it was appropriate to highlight the arts more at the festival, since we have been increasing our programming opportunities for the community over the past year,” Allied Arts executive director Carmen Drapeau added.
Many of the traditional activities return to the festival this year such as face-painting, the dress-up area, the Astro Jump and petting zoo.
Added to the fun are workshops on fun skills such as juggling and plate spinning led by Aytahn Ross of Circus Montreal, who will also perform.
Ross has performed a blend of circus, comedy and theatre for more than 20 years around the world.
Drapeau said Allied Arts wants the festival to encourage the public and parents to think more about the arts and how they can involve their children or themselves more in the arts and cultural programs in the community.
“The arts encompass many different forms,” Drapeau said. “They are limitless and encourage creativity for people of any age.”
People who attend the festival will be able to take part in some messy hands-on projects and enjoy give-aways and door prizes.
Children can complete a Mother’s Day project, try their hand at print-making and get involved in a variety of activities.
“We are enhancing the festival by making it a little more colourful and creative with a few more hands-on activity stations,” Drapeau said. “The layout of activities will be similar to last years event, with most returning community organizations to man their activity stations.
The Fort Macleod Playground Committee will sell food at the concession, with proceeds toward improvements at local playgrounds.
“We will also be showcasing local talent,” Drapeau noted.
Fort Macleod dance teacher Shauna Orr-Fournier and her belly dancers, along with Allied Arts’ own traditional native dancers led by instructor Barb Smith.
An entertainment schedule will be posted near the stage on Saturday.
Fort Macleod Family and Community Support Services, Kids First Family Centre, Parents as Teachers, Fort Macleod Pre-School Society, The Fort –Museum of the North Wes Mounted Police, Hand-In-Hand Out of School Child care and other groups will have displays.
Drapeau said there has been strong support for the Children’s Arts Festival from the business community and local organizations.
Allied Arts is hopeful the community will check out the festival with its new name and focus.
“We want people to have a great day just having fun being a kid, and exploring creativity,” Drapeau said.

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