A day for the kids

Kootenay Children's Festival fast approaching as organizers get ready for the event on May 7, 2016.

The Kootenay Children's Festival is fast approaching as May 7

The Kootenay Children's Festival is fast approaching as May 7

It will be a day for the kids on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

The Kootenay Children’s Festival is approaching it’s 31st anniversary as the largest free festival for kids events in the region, and will feature all kinds of activities for kids and families throughout the day.

Natalie Rudrum has taken over as the organizer of the event, as long-time volunteer Jim Sheppard is slowly stepping away after 27 years leading the charge on the event.

“He’s been one of the main guys from the beginning,” said Rudrum. “Picking this up from Jim, everybody organizes differently, so there’s a lot of stuff and a lot of it’s in Jim’s head, so I’m just trying to glean from him as much as I can,and what I’ve missed, people are calling asking to be a part of the festival.”

Families and the little ones will be treated to a day full of fun at the Mount Baker soccer field adjacent to the Key City Theatre.

“We’ll have a few food  trucks there, we will have the Ktunaxa kid drummers called the Aqamniks, they’re going to be drumming for us as well as their dancers,” said Rudrum.

“And just some of the traditional stuff, we’re making hats, we got all sorts of entertainers coming, we got crafting areas, painting areas, information areas like Child Find and finger printing…”

Nationally-renown children’s entertainer Fred Penner will be performing inside the Key City Theatre at 1 p.m. The theatre will also be open to the public for washroom access.

There has been a great groundswell of support from the community, both financially and through volunteerism.

“It’s [the festival] about a $20,000 day,” said Rudrum. “It’s pretty impressive to see how the community, not just Cranbrook, but regional, the partners that step up to financially support it and make it go.”

Even when people can’t support with financial donations, offers for other kinds of help are flowing in, according to Rudrum.

“It’s a matter of requesting things like Kenny Bridge giving us all of his tents; we can pick them up and drop them off, there’s quite a few partners that way, that provide supplies,” Rudrum said.

“Home Hardware is providing a crew of people this year to help us. We’ve got the CUPE organization approach us, saying ‘how can we help? Let’s put up a tent and see if we can find some volunteers for you.’

“We’re seeing less financials come in this year, because things are tight this year, but we’re seeing more physical help, so that’s money, too. Time is money and things like tents and chairs and bounce houses and things like that, when we don’t have to put that money out, that’s huge.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Rudrum at rudrumnatalie@gmail.com. Volunteers will be split up into shifts of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1p.m. to 4 p.m.

“So people just check in at the administration tent and they get a sticker that shows they’re a volunteer which also gives them access to the Green Room, where we have some food provided by some of the pizza places in town and some beverages and things,” added Rudrum.