“We are proud and excited to be founding the Yukon’s only dedicated art and music festival for children,” says Darlene Sillery, one of the five main organizers of the Augusto! Children’s Festival in Haines Junction this weekend.

“We have a great variety of workshops and an excellent group of presenters, including visual artists, performing artists and other activity leaders.”

This is the Festival’s first year and and interest in the project on the part of Yukon artists exceeded Sillery’s expectations. “We have an absolutely great program, a variety of activities and an excellent group of presenters both in visual and performing arts. The lineup turned out better than I’d ever imagined,” she says.

The Festival features a Friday night dance with Claire Ness and the Swing Sets and a performance by the traditional Dakwäkäda Dancers.

There’s a Saturday night performance with Tippy Agogo (who performs on instruments made from recycled goods). Followed by Flyin’ Bob (who Sillery describes as a “one man circus”) presenting his “Articulate Nonsense” show.

During the daytime there will be 13 different types of workshops planned for attendees and their parents to choose from. Such as performing arts, visual arts, instrument making, circus skills, hula hoop making, cartooning, felting and intro to judo or robotics.

Workshops are designed for kids ages five to 12. There’s a separate “toddler town” for children ages four and under with structured activities.

More activities will include face painting, button making with Parks Canada, planting marigolds and learning how to repair broken toys. Peripheral activities include roving performers and a few surprises.

Sillery says organizers want to put Haines Junction on the map with this new Yukon festival.

“Haines Junction has proven capacity and experience to host large events and our existing demographic, which has recently seen a significant shift to young families and active grandparents, is the perfect fit,” says Sillery.

She says that the growing number of young families with children in the community will benefit from the festival and she’s also hoping that visitors will attend from around the territory.

“Haines Junction is an easy getaway for folks from Whitehorse and other adjacent communities up the north Alaska Highway,” she says. “For people in Atlin and Haines, it is a great opportunity for Haines Junction to reciprocate the pleasure many of us have felt attending both the Atlin Arts and Music Festival and the Southeast Alaska State Fair.”

The theme of the festival this year is zero waste and there will be manned stations for compost and recycling. Encouraging children to develop skillsets like repairing old belongings and reusing materials inspires many of the activities and performances, too. The festival will provide hot and cold drinks for all children and accompanying adults. No bottled water or bottled drinks will be sold on site. A “Kid’s Café” will be operating in the Atrium during the daytime workshop hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Weekend passes for ages five to 12 include a $5 credit at the Kid’s Café and children under two years old attend for free.

“Remember to bring your tickets,” says Sillery, “…these will be exchanged for a wristband at the gate. Also be sure to bring your own grownup!” Children participating in the festival must be accompanied by an adult.

Sillery is thrilled with the level of community involvement in the project. “We have been fortunate to have a lot of support from [Champagne and Aishihik First Nations] Chief and Council, Mayor and Council, and several local businesses and community organizations who have really stepped up to help ensure this first annual festival is successful!”

Organizers are hoping that the project will become an annual event. “There are so many festivals in the Yukon. It’s time for a dedicated kids festival and Haines Junction is the perfect place,” says Sillery.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit AugustoKids.ca.