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    Categories: Entertainment

This year St. Albert’s International Children’s Festival of the Arts is ready to woo its littlest audience

Quebec's own BAM Percussion helped kick off the start of the annual International Children's Festival of the Arts on Monday afternoon with a small sample of their wild hair

Circus tents are standing on the Sturgeon River’s banks. Theatrically costumed rovers ramble through St. Albert’s downtown, and international performers are ensconced in their venues prepared not only to entertain, but also expose young audiences to the mystery of the arts.

Yes, the 36th edition of the International Children’s Festival of the Arts is in full swing with young audiences busing in from across some of the outermost reaches of the province.

As the City of St. Albert’s cultural services director Kelly Jerrott explained at last Monday’s media launch, the festival is an invitation to create, to be inspired, to imagine, to laugh and have fun.

She added that the festival is an opportunity to explore distant lands and create memories that last a lifetime.

This year the festival made history adding one extra day to its traditional five-day format. The new six-day event runs May 30 to June 4 and an estimated 55,000 school students and families are expected to attend.

With nine differing main stage shows, there is a liberal selection to choose from. There is the Aboriginal School of Dance’s innovative choreography that blends traditional and modern dances. BAM Percussion introduces an explosive fusion of frenzied rhythms.

The musical Madagascar brings back favourite characters Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria, the Hippo while Moon Mouse takes kids on a glow-in-the-dark cosmic adventure.

The lovable Jonathan Burns has no hesitation twisting himself into a pretzel while The Man Who Planted Trees charms with laughter and tears. And Sangja takes audiences on a touching journey from Canada to Korea with breathtaking puppetry and music.

On Saturday and Sunday only, Splash ’N Boots continues to make their mark singing, jumping and dancing to their high-energy rock, pop and blues based beats.

In another first, organizers have also created a free downloadable app with complete festival details. Check out https://stalbert.ca/exp/childfest/.

Festival tickets are $13 and are available at the Arden box office or at 780-459-1542. Festival hours are Tuesday, May 30 to Friday, June 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parking is virtually non-existent. Free park ’n ride shuttles are available from Village Landing Transit Station located at Grange Dr. and Gate Ave.

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.