Creativity takes center stage at annual Kid's Fest, Saturday

Lots to do, see, create, and free hot dogs, too, at the 23rd Annual Children
Lots to do, see, create, and free hot dogs, too, at the 23rd Annual Children's Festival, Saturday, at the fairground in Friday Harbor.
— image credit: Contributed photo/Island Rec

By Steve Wehrly/Journal Reporter

Island Rec and more than 30 community groups are ready to engage and entertain a thousand kids and adults at the 23rd Annual Children’s Festival at the Fairgrounds on May 4.

Whether Kiwanis and the Lion’s Club have stockpiled enough hot dogs, apples and popcorn to feed the crowd remains to be seen.

But the number of hot dogs and apple slices may not matter because Island Rec will have the Main Exhibition Hall, the 4-H Building and spaces in between filled with so many creative projects, activities and exhibits that the kids may forget about their stomachs for a while.

Island Rec calls this year’s festival “a celebration of creativity designed to give free rein to children’s imaginations as they design, build and create with their own hands.”

To bring out children’s creativity, Island Rec has enlisted Everett’s renowned Imagine Children’s Museum to provide science and engineering projects and exhibits that will entrance (“fill with wonder and delight, holding the entire attention”) kids and adults. Three of six main examples: a “chromatography” color separation experiment, building a catapult and constructing towers out of marshmallows and toothpicks.

Local architect David Waldron will help kids construct a large geodesic dome in the main hall and a cardboard box town under the awning outside. Kevin Roth will facilitate creation of all kinds of neat, up-cycled gadgets at the ever-popular “Trash to Treasures” booth. The indefatigable Francie Hansen will once again be on hand to teach kids how to transform old socks into one-of-a-kind dolls and stuffed animals.

Many of the 30 local sponsors will produce numerous hands-on games and kid-friendly activities, such as: face painting, clay crafting, balloon animals, making musical instruments, fencing play, collage making, doll making (yes, boys can make dolls too) and a petting zoo.

For entertainment, Chelo Carlton’s Ballet Folklorico de Monarca dance troupe, featuring a passel of local kids in colorful costumes, are back to perform Latino-inspired folk dances, and the elementary school’s Soaring Eagles Choir will sing some favorite tunes.

The Children’s Festival is the largest Island Rec event of the year. It’s an entire community effort, second only to the county fair itself in community participation and the number of people who attend.

Roche Harbor Resort, King’s Market, Island Petroleum and Islanders Bank provide sponsorship funding, and The Toy Box, Ositos, Western Prince Charters, Lime Kiln Café, Inter-Island Water, San Juan Roasting, and EarthBox Inn & Spa all provide in-kind donations and volunteers.

The “commitment of the dedicated volunteers” brings the festival to life every year; you can still help by volunteering.

Join the fun on Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s free. For more information or to volunteer, please call Jason at 378-4953 or visit


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