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The show goes on

The International Children's Festival of the Arts celebrates 40 years
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The International Children's Festival of the Arts starts Wednesday, April 28, 2021 with 40 Days of Play, a series of at-home activities that include butterfly crafts - the festival symbol.

Undaunted by health regulations, organizers for St. Albert's International Children’s Festival of Arts have employed heightened creativity and resources to showcase a 40th anniversary celebration. 

What was initially planned as a landmark-year extravaganza has been diluted due to the pandemic. However, it will still provide families with an opportunity to spend quality time together and create memories. 

In a nod to the festival’s anniversary, organizers have created 40 Days of Play, which started April 28 and runs until June 6. Each day, one at-home activity guided by prompts will be posted online at The activities are designed as an opportunity to discover the world in a different way and jump-start a child’s curiosity, creativity, and confidence. 

“We have everything from crafts to circus to hula hooping. There are butterfly activities – they're the symbol of the festival. And there’s geocaching. All you need is a mobile device and you can get out on the trails and find the hidden treasure,” said Andrea Gammon, festival manager. 

More than 25 organizations, businesses and artists are providing imaginative offerings. An origami butterfly craft is set to honour Children’s Day in Japan. Entertainment company Hula Hoop Circus will introduce some fun hip-swinging. St. Albert's Wild Earth Bakery will teach kids and their families how to make butterfly cookies. St. Albert Public Library plans to offer a quiet story time. 

Dance, puppetry, gardening, clowning, wreath making, animal tracking, storytelling, Play-Doh, and puzzles are just a few of the diverse prompts planned.  

Gammon said the string of activities are self-directed, with downloadable teaching instructions. 

“It might be a podcast, a guided art-walk tour or videos of crafts. Fort Edmonton Park, the art gallery and Telus World of Science are all contributing to these 40 activities. They are creative, fun, accessible and something to look forward to every day. They won’t take a lot of work, but they give an extra spark of creativity,” Gammon added. 

Participants are asked to share their creativity by posting photos of projects at or on Facebook or Instagram using #40DaysofPlay to be entered for prizes. 

Toward the close of 40 Days of Play, five virtual interactive performances will run from June 4 to 6. Perhaps the most rhythmic will be Montreal performer Luca Lazylegz Patuelli, a breakdancer who uses incredible upper-body strength and crutches to perform. 

The Wizards of Oakwood Drive is an online show featuring two sibling wizards who hope to help viewers create magic in their homes. Australia's Mountain Goat Mountain is a virtual theatre experience featuring performers who use a bedsheet, a phone, pencils, and paper to creative narrative soundscapes. 

In The Big Heart Journey, Taes Leavitt, co-founder of Canadian children's music group Splash 'N Boots, provides a magical spin on mindfulness and meditation, while The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries: Power Hour is a customized experience that will push participants to exercise their investigative powers.

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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