Fat Cat Festival bounces back after teacher's strike hurt attendance | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Fat Cat Festival bounces back after teacher's strike hurt attendance

25th annual Fat Cat Children's Festival goes ahead June 12 and 13.
Image Credit: Contributed
June 07, 2015 - 10:38 AM

KELOWNA - You can’t keep a fat cat down. After a disastrous 2014 which saw attendance plunge because of the province-wide teacher’s job action, registration is way up for the 2015 Fat Cat Children’s Festival set to run June 12 and 13.

“We were very impacted by the strike and I wasn’t sure how we would bounce back this year but it’s been phenomenal,” festival director Dorothee Birker says.

Registration has roared back with almost 1,900 kids signed up, compared to last year’s number of 1,380.

“That’s huge growth for us," she says.

The Festival relys on primary school teachers to sign up their classes to attend as a field trip. In the spring of 2014, rotating job action by the B.C. Teachers' Federation saw teachers limit their field trip activities to within the scheduled school day. With travel time factored in, many teachers decided it wasn’t worth the trip.

“Some came anyway during a shorter window but some kids from schools from further away were unable to come,” Birker says.

Fat Cat is marking its 25th anniversary this year with some of its favourite performers on the roster, Birker says, including Dan the Balloon Man and combination comedian and juggler Matt Henry.

“Of course at the heart of the festival is the kid’s performances,” says Birker, who adds a highlight this year will be a 160-voice choir from Casorso Elementary.

Always popular is the Fat Cat parade on the Saturday. The City of Kelowna is warning motorists of road closures downtown starting as early as 7 a.m. and ending at 1 p.m. on Richter Street between Cawston Avenue and Clement Avenue. Rolling road closures begin at 9:45 a.m. on Cawston Avenue starting at Richter Street and ending Water Street and Sunset Drive. Parking restrictions will also be in place on those streets.

Waterfront Park will be closed to all but ticket holders on Friday, June 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, June 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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