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Children’s Festival 20 Years Old

Well something caught their imagination!

By Michael Buss, 2012-05-31
It comes naturally to children – playing. And when you think about it, play stems from imagination, from creativity. It incorporates all the arts; children sing and dance, they rôle play in their own version of theatre; and they paint, draw, construct and model. The most natural instincts of growing kids is then mostly left uncultivated by public school education because there is not the money.

There was a time when every primary school teacher was expected to play the piano – back in the seventies. Schools were filled with music and dance. But not now. Sadly, many of today’s generation of parents does not even know how much richer schools used to be when the arts flourished.

So it is always a joy when for a little while a variety of local non-profits come together in Downtown Anaheim to say to the families and school of our City, we still celebrate children and the arts. They are as crucial to the future of our nation as rigorous courses in math and computer science. Such is the character of the Children’s Festival, this year also celebrating its 20th year of bringing arts to the kids.

There is no doubt that huge credit for the success of the Festival must go to coordinator Andrea Manes (of The Fun Starts Here!). Her indefatigable energy, coupled with a host of willing supporters and sponsors, has made this possible. For the families who turn out, the Festival is a whirl of color and music, dance and discovery, food and friendship.

Don't miss the slide show at the foot of this article. Maybe you'll find yourself there!

Here are children twisting colored pipe-cleaners into animal shapes, or cutting out sticky shapes to form pictures, or leaving their chalk art on the street. Parents know the kids are safe. They stand back while brother and sisters, wide-eyed, relish the opportunity to play with the craft materials that transform into whatever those children’s minds can imagine.

But let’s not believe this was only for small children. The splendid youngsters of Oliver Zavala’s RHYTHMO Mariachi band proudly displayed their musical skills. Some the best singers from the Anaheim Union High School District sang to a delighted audience, and other groups entertained the crowds in quick succession.

Pass by the booths with their many colored canopies and there, yes, there are some senior citizens from The Living Tradition keeping faith with our past as that music lives on. And I don’t know the name of the elderly guitarist who sat like a guardian at one end of the street, but he seemed to be strumming his guitar for the benefit of all who wished to listen all day long.

It was a glorious day. The crowds swelled and basked in gentle May sunshine. Then they ebbed away as the Festival came to a close. To all who spent their time with the kids making the day such a success – it was time well spent.

In particular the Festival Committee wants to thank the many people and organizations who sponsored the event. Without them, it would have been impossible.

City of Anaheim
Anaheim Arts Council
Disneyland Resort
Anaheim Public Utilities
Anaheim Community Foundation
Helping Hands
Women’s Division – Anaheim Chamber of Commerce
Best Western Stovall Hotels
Boydstun Realty
Hilgenfeld Mortuary
Republic Services
Kiwanis Club of Greater Anaheim
Paul Kott Realtors, Inc
Pacific Western Bank
White Realty

Special thanks to the Kiwanis Key Club members and all the Festival volunteers.

Children's Festival, May 2012

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