A festival for the children at Parksville Kidfest

Sandcastles, entertainment, food and fun for the family at KidFest

Parksville’s famous expanse of sand is expecting an outbreak of sandcastles this Sunday, when hundreds of kids start a building boom.

The fun starts the night before with fireworks and continues as one of the region’s biggest family days with KidFest in the the big field in Community Park and the separate Quality Foods’ Children’s Sandcastle Competition next door on the beach.

KidFest starts in the kite field with entertainment almost non-stop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting with juggler and sleight of hand artist Jake West.

There will be more than 30 vendors and community booths, live entertainment and an array of activities for children from newborns to teenagers, said chair Bonnie Wallis.

The live performers include local favourites Jangano, Kumbana Marimba and Gerry Barnum, plus Unreality Magic and Tickles the Clown.

Children can have their face painted, hair sprayed, be tattooed, play games, create crafts, learn about nature and buy a $5 wrist band for access to a bunch of games and rides like a bouncy castle and a climbing wall — new this year.

The community booths range from arts and culture to sports, environmental, religious and government groups providing information and activities. Many of the booths are new from year to year giving regular attendees some variety.

And of course don’t forget all the cotton candy, mini-donuts, kettle corn and shaved ice treats a kid needs to fuel them through the long afternoon of fun on the beach.

Then as the entertainment starts in the field, at 10 a.m. registration starts for the 30th annual Quality Foods’ Children’s Sandcastle Competition.

People can get the form for free registration at www.qualityfoods.com or at the site, but must be registered well before the competition officially starts at 11:30 a.m.

It’s starting half an hour later this year because the timing is set by the tides, Quality Foods organizer Rob MacKay explained.

They have half hour to an hour and half, depending on age (6 and under, 7-9 and 10-12). There are goody bags for every participant and a lot of big prizes.

“There will be some mighty excited kids out there that day,” said Quality Foods organizer Rob MacKay.

He said he didn’t know all the prizes but they included things like an electric kids car, lots of electronics and camping gear and maybe things like bikes.

The strict, number one rule is listed as “all teams must have fun,” he said.

Call 250-951-2678, or check www.kidfest.ca or www.qualityfoods.com for more information. Don’t forget a hat and sun block and please leave your pets at home.


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