Three days of dance, parties, crafts, music and more will be offered from August 12–14 in Haines Junction. Augusto! Children’s Festival will be back after a long break because of the pandemic. It is the fourth time the festival will take place. The Dakwäkäda Dancers will open the festival in the Grand Hall at the Haines Junction Convention Centre. “We are really excited to be able to hold the festival again. The pandemic has been challenging but we are very pleased that 80 per cent of the presenters contracted in 2020 will be at the festival this year,” Darlene Sillery, (a board member and organizer) said.
One of the main acts will be the Saturday-night feature performers Les Soeurs Kif-Kif (The Kif-Kif Sisters) from Montréal. Inseparable since birth, these identical twin sisters have been doing street performances all over the world, for over a decade. They describe their work as a charming cocktail of theatre, circus, magic, puppetry and, typically, French craziness. The Saturday-night feature performance of the Kif-Kif Sisters is open to the whole community, Sillery added.
“We are also excited to welcome Ken Bishop, of Friends Forever Puppets, who has performed thousands of puppet shows. His variety shows feature lively songs, fast action skills, and dialogue with a multitude of characters,” Sillery said. New this year will be a closing 45-minute puppet show on Sunday afternoon, with Friends Forever Puppets. This event is free to everyone. Sillery is sure this will be a great finale to the festival. Ken Bishop is based in Alberta. He also starred on Storytime, a Saturday-morning kids program that aired across Canada, on CTV, for over five years. On his website, he writes that all of his puppets are original and that at one time he owned over 350 characters.
Augusto! Children’s Festival provides an opportunity, not only for children but also for their parents, to experience a variety of art, craft and music activities through shows and workshops led by professional artists. The goal has been to design a festival that involves the whole community—artists, attendees, volunteers and local vendors.
Many local artists will offer workshops
Musician and singer Annie Avery will host the Friday-night dance, as in past years when the festival was running. Amber Church will show children how to create monster puppets. Some of the programming for this year’s festival includes workshops where kids can create dream journals and cardboard animals, or play musical games. Megan Melanson will host a Mad Hatter workshop where she will show children how to create their own hat. Karrie Brown will use her traditional beading and sewing knowledge to show kids how to craft their own furry iceworm. Annie Desautels will help children to prepare an Enchanted Forest Explorer’s Kit. But there is more, Sillery said: “Over the weekend, twenty-eight one-hour art and music workshops will be on offer for ages five to twelve. For ages two to four, Toddler Town will be a mini festival, by itself, with structured activities, short concerts and an amazing cardboard village to explore.”
The festival is, in part, a legacy of the Alsek Music Festival, which ran for 17 years in Haines Junction. That music festival was a big part of every summer, with many local people participating in it. Augusto! is similar, with community members participating as audience members (both kids and parents), presenters, volunteers or service providers. Three of the festival’s current board members worked with the Alsek Music Festival, with local musicians. Sillery said it is important for the community to hold the festival. “We believe festivals are good for communities, and our current demographics, in Haines Junction, of young families and active grandparents, seemed the perfect fit for a children’s festival.” Festival organizers work year-round to plan and fundraise for the event.
“We sell 120 tickets for the festival, but with presenters, parents and volunteers, approximately four-hundred people participate over the weekend. The first festival was in 2017. Because of Covid, there wasn’t a festival in 2020 and 2021.”
Tickets are still available for Augusto! Children’s Festival and can be purchased through email, until midnight on Friday, August 12 ([email protected]). Names and ages of children, as well as names of parents or guardians who will be attending, as well as their contact numbers, are required. Children ages five to 12 can register for up to six workshops. For Toddler Town, no pre-registration is needed.