Harrison Festival Children’s Day gets creative

Harrison Festival of the Arts’ Children’s Day will see some refreshing new activities and hands-on interactions

The Jerry Cans and youth ensemble Tambai Marimba will be featured on the outdoor stage.

The Jerry Cans and youth ensemble Tambai Marimba will be featured on the outdoor stage.

The annual program for Harrison Festival of the Arts’ Children’s Day has consistently included three different live performances and a number of drop-in activities that encourage children to explore the arts through creative play.  Under the direction of new Children’s Day Co-ordinator, Janet Hutchinson, the programming for this year’s Children’s Day, Wednesday, July 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will see some refreshing new activities that invite children and parents’ to experience hands-on interactions with a wide range of performing arts including music, drama and physical skills.

“Janet is an experienced event organizer in the Fraser Valley and has had great success developing child focused programming for various local community groups,” says Harrison Festival Society Artistic Director, Andy Hillhouse.

Performing arts activities added this year include Circus Skills training and games, Acting Out dramatic play lead by Chilliwack School of Performing Arts, Music Makers rhythm circle lead by instructor Anya McRae and Story Forest featuring wildlife puppets from the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.

“It is a joy to connect and share with fellow arts organizations and  groups in this celebration of youthful fun and creativity,” says Hillhouse. “It offers a more enriching experience for us as organizers and the public.”

Returning activity favourites include the popular Climbing Wall, BC Hydro Power Smart Booth, Craft Central and Play Zone for toddlers & preschoolers.

The day’s performance lineup features musician and inventor, Al Simmons, on the indoor Memorial Hall stage. Called the “Thomas Edison of entertainers, Simmons is one of the most popular children’s acts in the country, and well known and loved for his inventive musical comedy.   Sets by Nunavut group The Jerry Cans and youth ensemble Tambai Marimba will be featured on the outdoor stage.

Families are encouraged to hang around town after the Children’s Day site has closed to catch the youthful and exuberant evening Memorial Hall performance with The Strumbellas at 8:30 p.m. This Canadian group is making waves at festivals across North America and abroad for the quality of their dynamic live shows. They have an all ages appeal with a popular contemporary alternative folk style similar to massive groups such as The Lumineers and Fleet Foxes. With children 12 and under admitted free to evening Hall performances, families have more access than ever to share an unforgettable full day family fun Festival extravaganza.

“Accessibility is a core value of our organization,” says Hillhouse, “We have families ourselves and understand how challenging it can sometimes be to find family friendly programming that is engaging, educational and entertaining while remaining affordable.”

Admission to Children’s Day is $6 (children 3 and under are free, group rate available). Complete lineup and tickets for the 37th annual Harrison Festival of the Art are available online at www.harrison-festival.com, by phone at 604-796-3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison.

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