The largest free event for children and families in southeast B.C., is making its return to Cranbrook this year with a jam-packed arts and entertainment schedule.
The Kootenay Children’s Festival, to be held May 12 and 13 in Rotary Park, will expand to include two days worth of family fun with a few new acts and activities.
Headlining this year’s musical lineup is Will’s Jams, a three-person pop-rock band, that produces witty children’s music with sing-along choruses. Lead singer Will Stroet is a Canadian musician who has received international acclaim for his music including a JUNO nomination, eight nominations from the Western Canadian Music Awards, three from the Canadian Folk Music Awards and two from SiriusXM Indies.
“Will has been a mainstay on CBC for a number of years,” said Galen Olstead, managing director for Key City Theatre, which is hosting the event. “He’s got a great catalogue of amazing songs. They’re all for and with children. Will’s just one of those amazing performers.”
Making her return is ʔaq’am educator Bonnie Harvey. She will be presenting the story of ʔakinmi, a Ktunaxa legend about the origin of Mt. Baker.
Harvey has been an active volunteer for Ktunaxa First Nation for two decades. She was the recipient of the B.C Achievement Community Award in 2020.
Olstead said Harvey’s performance was a hit last year and he fully expects her performance to generate similar interest this time around.
“It was very interactive. Right during Bonnie’s story, the weather came in and it was this very sudden rainfall and wind and Bonnie incorporated that right into the story and essentially spoke with the weather. It was a really magical moment.”
Included in this years’s activities is a family disco dance with live musicial entertainment and Trike-a-Polooza relay, where families and businesses can compete in two separate races on children’s trikes.
The Amuse Troupe will teach circus arts to children and plans invite young eventgoers up on stage to perform with them.
A “chill out” space with comfy chairs, headphones, low lights and sensory games will give children a chance to unwind and escape from the noise and action.
Key City Theatre is currently fundraising and searching for volunteers to help run the activity stations. Olstead said businesses can sponsor the stations and help supply staff.
Those interested in donating, volunteering or sponsoring can visit keycitytheatre.com.