The summer is pretty well finished. However, families can still take part in one of St. Albert’s cherished festivals — the 40th anniversary of The International Children’s Festival of the Arts.
Keeping fingers crossed that lockdown restrictions will not be resurrected, organizers have booked three live, in-person performances at the Arden Theatre. They range from hoop-dancing and circus arts to a variety show featuring a pyjama-garbed audience.
“We had always intended to have live performances at the festival in the spring in hopes the pandemic was in a good position. Unfortunately, we could not because of restrictions. When restrictions were lifted, we announced these shows. But if all the restrictions come back, we will follow them,” said professional programming presenter Andrea Martinuk.
The first show hosts a TikTok sensation with more than two million followers. Notorious Cree (aka James Jones), is one of social media’s biggest influences elevating the Indigenous voice. Rated one of the world’s top hoop dancers, the Edmonton-based performing artist brews a mix of powwow with hip-hop and street dance.
“He posts these amazing videos online. He dances in different spots around Edmonton and posts about Indigenous awareness,” Martinuk said. Notorious Cree performs Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.
Immediately the next day on Sunday, Oct. 3, Firefly Theatre will hang out at the Arden with Vivaree. It is a dizzying dance display on aerial silks as acrobats pop in and out and juggling clubs fly through the air.
In addition, Firefly founder, Annie Dugan, will give audiences a paws-itively special treat with Berri and Figgy Duff, her two-trained Australian shepherd dogs during the show taking place Sunday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m.
“I love watching circus tricks. You don’t get to see someone hanging in the air every day. You will see different tricks and why not enjoy good entertainment. This will spark a little joy and humour in families’ lives,” said Martinuk.
For an early Christmas celebration, festival organizers have booked a Festive Festival PJ Party on Dec. 4. Yes, it’s time to put on those goofy pyjamas people only wear at Christmas and join traditional festival favourites for a variety show of juggling, magic, music, comedy, and circus antics.
Magician Ron Pearson appears as master of ceremonies. He will introduce juggling artist The Great Balanzo, street artist Gustavo the Impossibilist, aerialist Lyne Gosselin, singer Andrea House, stiltwalker and juggler Nikolai, and sleight of hand artist Jay Flair. The show is Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
“We encourage kids to wear pyjamas. It’s an early show. Take the kids home for a snack and tuck them in bed.”
Tickets are $12 plus fees. General admission only. They are available online at www.childrest.com.
As of Sept. 20, the Arden Theatre requires those aged 12 and over to show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of service, or documentation of a medical exemption.