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Teacher strike hits childrens' festival where it hurts

Organizers of a West Kelowna childrens' festival are worried the ongoing dispute between the BCTF and the province will hurt attendance at the 8th annual Interior Savings Fat Cat Children's Festival this weekend.
Image Credit: fatcatfestival.ca
June 03, 2014 - 2:23 PM

"WE'RE JUST TRYING TO DO THE BEST WE CAN IN THIS SITUATION."

KELOWNA - Organizers of a West Kelowna childrens' festival are worried the ongoing dispute between the BCTF and the province will hurt attendance at the 8th annual Interior Savings Fat Cat Children's Festival this weekend.

Artistic director Dorothee Birker says teachers bringing kids to the festival for field trips made up the majority of attendees in the past.

She says around 1300 kids registered to attend on Friday but that number has dropped substantially since job action began.

“I don’t know yet where all the numbers sit,” she says. “We’ve heard from a few of the schools that are saying for sure they can’t come and right now the number of student’s coming for half a day are around 300. Schools physically closer to the festival grounds are trying to come for a half day but for many the distance involved doesn't allow for this and so these field trips have been cancelled.”

“For us the show must go on.”

The event takes place at Waterfront Park and will feature over 30 activity stations with everything from face painting and a parade to world music and art.

“We are gearing up for two great days at the festival and know that the experiences offered will be enriching and exciting for kids of all ages,” Birker says. “I’m optimistic because I know the kids who will be there will have a great time.”

One of the acts that has been cancelled is a surprise flash mob organized by students of Springvalley Elementary.

“Those kids have been rehearsing and getting excited to do that and now they can’t come,” she says. “It’s just one of the impacts for us as well as for them.”

In an attempt to make the event more accessible to the community, Friday hours have been changed to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Hopefully the community will come out and support us,” she says. “It’s so disappointing. We’re just trying to do the best we can in this situation. We were really hoping for a resolution.”

A full schedule of activities is available at the event website.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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