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Creativity, imagination takes over at Penticton's HaHaHa KidzFest

Kids from across the Okanagan and Similkameen take in action-packed event

Around 1,000 kids, from Osoyoos to Kelowna and Keremeos, were in downtown Penticton on Friday, June 7, for the Okanagan's largest arts and culture children's festival.

HaHaHa KidzFest was back at Gyro Park, with performing artists, educational workshops, and games headlining the festivities.

"Seeing the kids' faces when they see something magical that expands their imaginations is special," Rachel Bland, board chair of the festival. "The fact that they can also get up close and personal with all the workshops and learn stuff, too, it makes for an overall neat experience."

The festival took over the park on starting June 6, for the third year in a row. Elementary schools across the region made good on the event's return by taking Kindergarten to Grade 5 students on field trips both Thursday and Friday.

Among the first-time performers to take the Penticton stage were identical twins from Montreal, Francoise and Josette Lepine, better known as the Kif-Kif Sisters.

"It's wonderful that there's a children's festival in a smaller city like this," Francoise said, adding that this week marked the first time the longtime duo had performed in B.C. Interior. "The kids are lucky to have this event, and they're here to enjoy it at its best."

The sisters' act, known at festivals across Canada for its physical comedy and circus tricks, was joined by representatives from the Penticton Scottish Festival and Wild Moccasin Dancers, among others, to take the stage on Friday afternoon.

"We have such a wide range of different artists showing off different skills," Bland said.

The concept of HaHaHa KidzFest is replicated in cities across Canada, the event organizer added.

But with Kelowna's Fat Cat Festival no more, Penticton's hosting of this week's event marks the largest of its kind in the Okanagan.

This year's HaHaHa KidzFest ends on Saturday, June 8 and is aided by the work of dozens of volunteers.

About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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