Walker Goodwin holds steady on a horse at the Central Alberta Children’s Festival on Saturday at Rotary Recreation Park. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Central Alberta Children’s Festival a chance for screen-free fun

Filling Red Deer’s Rotary Recreation Park with so many activities, that kids don’t miss Wi-Fi was the goal of the Central Alberta Children’s Festival, according to organizers.

The festival is put on every year by Family Services of Central Alberta.

“We look at the unplugged,” said Judy Scott, Family Services of Central Alberta executive director. “There’s not too much Wi-Fi in the park so parents are able to engage with their kids in nature. And what’s better than nature.”

The two-day festival wrapped up its run on Saturday under the sun. It was the 12th time the event has been held.

“Once you pay at the gate, everything inside is free,” said Scott. “It’s about building community. We have lots of community partners and businesses that are giving their time to have activities for the kids.”

In between the barrel horses, bubble wrap stomping grounds, maze, face-painting and bouncy castle were a range of performers including Peter Puffin’s Whale Tales, The Purple Pirate, the Triple HS Band and the Red Deer Royals.

“It’s a whole load of fun activities in the park for parents to come with their children,” said Scott. “Listen to some music, get their face painted, have some snacks and just enjoy this beautiful park.”

Though organizers had hoped for 7,000 attendees, rain on Friday kept attendance below expectations that day. Scott hoped the sun on Saturday would make up for it. In an average year, Scott said they see about 5,500 people partake in the festivities.

Scott called it a “friendraiser,” saying the money raised from admissions does not support Family Services of Central Alberta.

“We’re here to help families,” said Scott. “All the money that comes into the park through the gate and through our sponsors all goes right back into the festival for the next year.”

The event is held on Friday and Saturday to allow for school groups to attend.


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