Children’s Festival gets North Okanagan families back to play

A full weekend of kids activities is taking over the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre March 19 & 20. (Riz Herbosa photo)A full weekend of kids activities is taking over the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre March 19 & 20. (Riz Herbosa photo)
The Kerplunks come to the stage March 19. (Contributed)The Kerplunks come to the stage March 19. (Contributed)
Karima Essa’s Bollywood Star School takes place Sunday, March 20. (Contributed)Karima Essa’s Bollywood Star School takes place Sunday, March 20. (Contributed)
Ideas Bobert takes the stage with magic and creativity Saturday, March 19. (Contributed)Ideas Bobert takes the stage with magic and creativity Saturday, March 19. (Contributed)

Let the children sing and dance as they learn about the world around them. That’s the goal of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society and its inaugural North Okanagan Children’s Festival.

The pay-what-you-can festival kicks off at the VPAC with an exploration of the world of birds and trees before moving inside for heartwarming theatre, catchy tunes and Bollywood dancing, Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20. And while many of the kids enjoy their first live music experience since the pandemic, parents can learn more about the family activities available in the community.

“We felt like this was an opportunity to go all out and give families engaging and entertaining performances that teach the kids about the world and themselves,” said Erin Kennedy, artistic director. “Come meet other families and inspire young minds at the North Okanagan Children’s Festival.”

The two-day festival starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, when families are invited to experience interactive presentations from the Okanagan Regional Library, Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, Allan Brooks Nature Centre and the Boys and Girls Club. Shebbang and Ogopogo Donuts will be on-site with snacks and refreshments.

“There are so many new people in our community, and we look forward to bringing families together,” said Kennedy.

The Kerplunks

With a 14-year career performing for families at festivals across the country, The Kerplunks have built an award-winning legacy of colourful, high-energy performances. The Kerplunks’ catchy originals keep kids singing along and get the whole family on their feet. A four-piece multi-instrumental band provides a base for the band’s catchy lyrics. Catch The Kerplunks on the main stage at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Ideas Bobert

What happens if we deny our deepest desires for self-expression? Teetering on the brink of failure, Bobert discovers his heart’s yearning to be more important than he knew. With vintage silent film styling, shadow puppetry, stop motion animation projections, dance and live music, Candice Roberts’ world of Ideas Bobert is rich with magic and creativity at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Karima Essa’s Bollywood Star School

Experience the vibrance and energy of Bollywood dance live with Vancouver’s own Karima Essa. Since first showcasing her Bollywood Star School show in 2018, Essa has taken the performance to more than 100 schools where she celebrates the body positivity movement in Bollywood dance. Essa’s charismatic performances and love for Bollywood took her to the screens in Mumbai, India where she was a two-time finalist on Omni TV’s Bollywood Star. Today, Essa explores how dance improves socio-emotional skills in children with autism. Essa’s Bollywood Star School paints an image of Mumbai on the VDPAC stage at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Tickets for the North Okanagan Children’s Festival are pay-what-you-can, available through the Ticket Seller Box Office at 250-549-SHOW (7469) or online at ticketseller.ca.

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