Kelsey McLean photo Greg and Luke Nuttall enjoy one of the many inflatable attractions at an earlier edition of Parksville’s Kidsfest.

Kidfest returns to Parksville Community Park this Sunday

Annual event offers fabulous fun for families

Parksville-Qualicum families of all abilities will want to mark Aug. 18 on the calendar.

“One of the things we try to do is make this as inclusive as possible,” said KidFest treasurer and spokesperson Michael Garland. “For instance, we have two new activities for youth that are actually wheelchair accessible, the Saloon and the Beehive.”

KidFest has been taking place in Parksville since 1992, and the price for entry hasn’t changed in more than a decade, Garland explained. For $5, kids of all ages can get a wristband, and take in all the day has to offer. There are 14 wrist-band activities including bouncy castles, an inflatable obstacle course, a mechanical surfboard, an inflatable Gladiator Joust game, and much more. Glitter Girlz will also be there painting faces, which is always a crowd favourite.

Garland said one of the highlights for him is the entertainment stage.

“It gives local groups an opportunity to show their wares in the public forum, and we have a lot of musicians and dancers that also participate,” he said. “We have everything from Flipside Gymnastics to a highland dancer group, magicians, you name it—the whole idea is to keep everyone entertained for the whole time.”

Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society will also take the stage, along with musicians Ian Johnstone, Grace Page, Jango Marimba and Gerry Barnum.

There are 28 community booths offering entertainment and information, said Garland, such as the Rainbow Stew Cloggers, Parksville Fire Department, the RCMP, Oceanside Community Safety, and SOS. “Basically, it’s a who’s who of Parksville,” he said.

The event is so popular that there can be lineups from time to time, but Garland said that’s why they have several mascots attending, including A&W Root Bear and the RCMP Safety Bear.

The event couldn’t happen without the generous sponsors, Garland clarified, particularly their biggest sponsor and partner, Quality Foods.

The QF Children’s Sandcastle Competition will happen in conjunction with KidFest, taking place on the beach, while KidFest will take place on the kite field. There are thousands of dollars in prizes for the sandcastle competition, which runs from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

Garland said KidFest is a great opportunity for the community to come together. Local MLA Michelle Stillwell will be back in attendance with her son, who will be participating as a mascot this year.

“That’s what this thing does, it really brings everyone together and everyone wants to participate.”

KidFest runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 at Parksville Community Park. Visit the KidFest website for an entertainment stage schedule, a list of activities, community booths and more.

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NEWS file Alice Tulia, Child & Family Coordinator at SOS, entertains kids at the SOS booth at Kidfest.

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