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Dispute will disrupt Fat Cat

The ongoing labour dispute between BC's teachers and the province has hit Kelowna's Interior Savings Fat Cat Children's Festival.

The annual festival runs this coming Friday and Saturday at Waterfront Park.

Festival Artistic Director, Dorothee Birker, says traditionally, a number of school children come with their classes on the opening day Friday. 

“Unfortunately with the current job action and lock out, some of the teachers simply aren't able to bring the kids to the festival," says Birker.

"Schools physically closer to the Festival grounds are trying to come for a half day, but for many the distance involved doesn't allow for this and so these field trips have been cancelled. We are all disappointed - the teachers, students and organizers.  However we also wanted to remind the community that they have always been welcome to come for the Friday to enjoy the many activities and performances that day.”

In order to accommodate more families, the festival has modified Friday hours to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Over the past seven years Friday's attendance has grown with families with younger kids or home-schoolers as well as preschools and day cares bringing their kids. 

There will still be over 30 activity stations with hands-on, creative learning opportunities including fabulous facilitated workshops like Djembe Drumming, Brazillian Percussion, Pottery, Found Art, Circus Yoga and more.

On stage will be Bobby Bovenzi and Nankama West African Drumming, Kiki the Eco Elf, PT the Clown and Stories on Wheels. Roaming the Festival grounds will be Jack Bailey Juggler and Trixie the Clown among others.  Volunteers are ready to paint faces, punk up hair and get kids engaged in Icky Sticky Tactile messes.   

"For us the show must go on, but we have changed the time on Friday to help families bring their kids," Birker says. 

"The performers, the facilitators, the volunteers - we are gearing up for two great days at the Festival and know that the experiences offered will be enriching and exciting for kids of all ages. A full schedule of activities will be online and in Thursday's Capital News."

The final preparations and countdown are on, but there are still some opportunities for people to get involved with the parade presented by YVR Vancouver International Airport. 

This year the festival features a Kiddie Brigade where kids are invited to dress up and join the parade - and one child will be chosen to be the Grand Marshall and lead the way.  Registrations are online or contact Dorothee at 250-860-4911 for more information.

Festival admission is $5 per person or $15 for a Family of 4.  Early Bird Family Passes are available at all Interior Savings branches from Lake Country to West Kelowna for only $10.

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