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Kids festival lineup cleared for takeoff

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Kids enjoy one of the interactive sculptures at The Winnipeg International Children's Festival at The Forks in 2010. The annual event offers a diversity of world-class entertainers and participatory workshops.

JANEK LOWE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Kids enjoy one of the interactive sculptures at The Winnipeg International Children's Festival at The Forks in 2010. The annual event offers a diversity of world-class entertainers and participatory workshops. Photo Store

Next month's Winnipeg International Children's Festival will feature firsttime headliners Flock of Flyers and Portugal's Pedro the Clown along with the inaugural Last Chance to Dance Like There's Ants in your Pants dance party.

The 32nd annual kids fest set for June 5-8 at The Forks unveiled its lineup Monday and includes the debut of Ontario's Flock of Flyers, a squadron of pilots who, because of cutbacks, have no planes. Although grounded, the undaunted pilots continue to practise their airborne routines on their parade field.

"It's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen," says festival executive producer Neal Rempel, who will have to create a new fest venue to accommodate the not-so high-flying fun. "It's freaking hilarious. They have to do all their manoeuvres using their arms as wings for their formations. Every time I see it people lose their minds over the show. I hope it's going to be a big hit."

Another first-time import is Pedro the Clown, a street performer of much renown in his home country where he is also the face of a popular soft drink. He has been described as a one-man equivalent of Wallace and Gromit. The festival is his only North American date.

"It's a very crazy show," Rempel says.

The list of performers also includes the trinity of Winnipeg children's entertainers -- Fred Penner, Al Simmons and Jake Chenier -- as well as British Columbia-based musician Will Stroet, multi-instrumentalist Washboard Hank from Ontario and Quebec's Le Groupe Swing. Rounding out the lineup are locals singer-songwriter Marie Claude, The Magic of Anders and Seanster & The Monsters.

In an attempt to boost Sunday-morning activity, the festival will host the second annual Clown4Kids Walk/Run at The Forks at 10 a.m. on June 8. Participants wind their way around a two- to three-kilometre obstacle course. New this year at 11 a.m. is the first dance party at Scotiabank stage, where the music will be supplied by Washboard Hank, Winnipeg's one-man-band Mr. Mark and special guests.

Advance tickets are $14 each or $48 for a 4FlexFest pass and are available at all Winnipeg Safeway locations until June 8. Gate prices are $16 or $56 for the pass. For more information about Kidsfest, go to www.kidsfest.ca or call 1-800-526-1515.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 13, 2014 C2

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