Winnipeg International Children’s Festival (Kidsfest)

Winnipeg International Children’s Festival (Kidsfest)
The Winnipeg International Children’s Festival, also known as simply Kidsfest, is an annual children’s festival held in the Canadian province of Manitoba since 1983. It is run by a charitable, not-for-profit, community based organization of the same name.

The inaugural Winnipeg International Children’s Festival was held in 1983 at Assiniboine Park. One of the festival’s founders and its first director was Bill Merritt, a popular Winnipeg bassist. The first event was met with enthusiasm so the organizers decided to make it an annual affair. Kidsfest was held at Kildonan Park from 1984 to 1989, and eventually moved to its present location at The Forks in Downtown Winnipeg in 1990.

The mission of the festival is to provide quality leisure services to children and families from Manitoba’s diverse communities regardless of their ethnicity, social status or level of income. Kidsfest offers a rich and diverse program featuring outstanding performances and interactive activities for children of all ages and backgrounds. The festival’s key principles and values include:

  • Passion for integrity in quality programming
  • Dynamic and creative interactive activities
  • Innovative and energetic multisensory experiences
  • A safe, accessible and inclusive environment
  • Learning, inspiration and fun
  • Contributing to the development of the arts in the community

The Winnipeg International Children’s Festival offers a series of concerts, interactive activities, and other entertainment for children. It features over 30 acts and 120 performances. The festival draws more than 40,000 visitors over four days, which makes it one of Winnipeg’s biggest annual events. Alongside its flagship event, the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival presents year-round events for children and families in Manitoba.

Kidsfest features performers from all over Canada and abroad, including musicians, dancers, comedians, clowns, citrus acts, and more. Alongside stunning performances, its program includes hands-on workshops, games and contests, readings, educational activities for French learners, field trips, a baby area, a merchandise store, and more. There’s something here for everyone!

The Winnipeg International Children’s Festival is a non-profit event funded by the government and sponsors, as well as through fundraising events. All proceeds from the ticket sales are used to cover the expenses. Every year, about 1,000 volunteers team up to create an unforgettable experience for festival-goers and don’t ask for anything in return, except for maybe happy smiles.


Photo: Leif Norman




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