Magic under the mountains

Haines Junction is gearing up for the second-annual Augusto Children`s Festival. With 28 workshops for kids aged five to 12, on puppet-making, magic, Southern Tutchone dance, circus skills, ukulele playing … and many more. It’s the Yukon’s only arts and music festival for children. Darlene Sillery is one of the organizers and gives some background information:

“I think many people still miss the Alsek Music Festival, which ran for seventeen years. I believe festivals are great for small communities. Haines Junction is a perfect fit for [a] children’s festival and Augusto!” Some of the Augusto Festival board members are former organizers of the Alsek Music Festival in Haines Junction.

Sillery said that they are happy about the wonderful facilities at the St. Elias Convention Centre, the perfect location for a community demographic with lots of young families and active grandparents. There are 120 tickets for sale (for ages 12 and under) and, with parents, volunteers and presenters, Augusto expects 400 people to be directly involved in the festival.

Sillery said she cannot tell what the highlight will be, because there are so many.

The Dena Zagi band will be a great start to the festival. They will be set up on the dance floor for maximum interaction, and kids are encouraged to bring their music shakers.

Saturday night’s feature performance, with magician Sheldon Casavant and ventriloquist Kellie Haines, is going to be amazing. Casavant, who is based in Edmonton, is recognized as one of Canada’s top magicians. He has performed in the U.S., Mexico, Asia and in over 600 shows in Japan. And Kellie Haines is a multi-talented ventriloquist/entertainer with a background in acting, singing and dancing.

“We have a great mix of performing and visual arts workshops. [There is a] Milk Jug workshop with artist Leslie Leong, who will show children how they can create a swan or a flower out of milk jugs,” Sillery said.

Haines Junction artist-in-residence Henry Navarro will show children how to design fashion out of ideas from their surroundings. Navarro is spending three months with his wife and son in Haines Junction.

Making dreamcatchers with Karrie Brown will be another festival highlight.

And then there is Toddler Town, for ages four and under, which is a mini festival in itself with a full schedule of short concerts, craft activities, colouring stations, storybook corners and the amazing Cardboard Village to explore. For many kids, the takeaways from the festival are great, and this year will include the opportunity to print their own festival t-shirt.

Augusto will take place from August 10–12 at the St. Elias Convention centre. More info and tickets are available at

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