International flavour for kid’s fest in Penticton

By Steve Waldner – Penticton Western News



With dinosaurs, Juno-award winning musicians and break dancers who “pop and lock” to the sound of a cello the 10th Annual Rotary Okanagan International Children’s Festival is shaping up to be dynamic.



The festival, which runs from May 24-26 at Okanagan Lake Park, is bringing in acts from around the world of all different varieties.



“That our world is bigger than we think sometimes,” said Conrad Burek, executive director of the festival, when asked what he wants people to come away from the festival with. “We’re bringing in people from Senegal and Australia, and we’re reminded that there’s more out there.”



To this end, the festival is bringing in acts such as: Australian theatre-group Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo, a large-scale puppet-show where children and adults alike get a chance to see, pet and feed dinosaurs; the Breakdance for Solo Cello group, where five dancers breakdance to classical music; Elage Diouf, a senegalese musician who won 2011’s Juno award for world music album of the year; among many more.



“We really bring to this area an international feel, that’s what I think we do,” said Burek. “We bring in acts that nobody else does in the South Okanagan, and I think that’s also reflected by the amount of attendance that we have every year.



“What we’re trying to do is take a global snapshot of what is happening artistically around the world and we strive to do that and offer that to the kids in the area of the South Okanagan,” he added.



Burek said by sharing the cost of having these tours with other Canadian international festivals, it makes them affordable for the average family.



For those who can’t dedicate an entire weekend to seeing the great performances offered by the festival, there will be a vaudeville night on Friday at Cleland Theatre, where the bigger acts will all perform over the span of two hours. Tickets to that are $20. “It’s great for the ADD crowd,” Burek joked.

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