Kids Kreate at the Yukon Arts Centre on Feb. 17. (Submitted/Alistair Maitland Photography)

Moppets unite: Yukon Arts Centre gets ready for its first children’s festival

The inaugural Midnight Sun Moppets Children’s Festival is happening May 18

Dance, make crafts and chalk art, help build a castle, plant sunflowers and so much more.

The enthusiasm is clear in Michele Emslie’s voice as she details a long list of activities planned for Whitehorse children as the Yukon Arts Centre gets ready to host it’s inaugural Midnight Sun Moppets Children’s Festival.

On May 18 youngsters will take over the Old Firehall and the lobby at MacBride Museum downtown for a variety of activities and performances.

“We’re so excited,” Emslie said.

The idea for a full-day festival came about after a show in 2018 featuring Splash’N Boots – well-known amongst preschoolers across the country for their music and TV show on Treehouse – was held last year during May long weekend.

As it turns out, Emslie said, there are a lot of Whitehorse residents who stay in town for that weekend and wanted to take in the show.

“We had a full house,” she recalled noting the excitement of the kids who came out to the show.

It wasn’t long after that arts centre staff started talking about expanding on it for a full-day festival during the May long weekend.

While arts centre staff got to work lining up performers and artists, local kids were tasked with coming up with a name for the event. Alexandar Nally won the contest with his submission of the Midnight Sun Moppets Children’s Festival.

Local performers and artists were excited to be part of the festivities and offer a wide range of activities for kids.

Both performing and visual artists will be at Old Firehall and MacBride Museum between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

All of that will be followed up with a family dance featuring Major Funk and the Employment at the Old Firehall from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Major Funk and the Employment are just one in a long list of performers set to be on that stage throughout the day beginning with Remy Rodden, who will kick things off with a performance for younger kids at 10 a.m. The performer, whose music focuses on the environment, will be back for a performance aimed at older children later in the day.

Paris Pick, Claire Ness and students in the Music, Arts, and Drama program at the Wood Street Centre are also in the lineup at the Old Firehall.

Emslie said staff at the Arts Centre are pleased to give a number of local children’s performers the opportunity to perform to a larger audience than they may typically perform for.

Youngsters are also invited to the Old Firehall to join Michel Gignac to work on a cardboard castle creation as well as Nicole Bauberger for chalk drawings and sunflower planting outside.

Meanwhile, MacBride will be filled with many young artists throughout the day as three Kids Kreate art stations will be set up from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. with local artists Montana Prysnuk, Helen O’Connor and Maya Rosenberg leading those.

As for what the artists will be making at each station, Emslie would only say it’s a surprise.

Kids Kreate has been an ongoing program at the Yukon Arts Centre for many years. Once a month for a full afternoon, from about September until April, the lobby of the Yukon Arts Centre is taken over by young artists ready to create a work of art or a craft project led by a local artist.

Before the Kids Kreate stations are set up at the museum, festival-goers can take in a storytelling performance by Annie Glover starting at 10 a.m. Glover performs her stories using string and will follow up her show with a string workshop.

It’s expected anywhere from 300 to 500 could show up for the festival.

“I hope everybody comes,” Emilie said.

With the exception of the family dance ($5 per ticket at the door), the festival is free.

As Emslie explained it’s a priority of the arts centre to provide programming to all Yukoners and that includes families.

With its mandate to deliver programming to all Yukon, the arts centre is also sending Glover to Carmacks and Dawson for performances and workshops there. Glover is also slated to visit École Émilie Tremblay on May 17, ahead of the festival.

Rodden is also scheduled to hit the road after the festival with performances in Faro and Ross River as part of the arts centre’s efforts to deliver programming to all Yukon. The shows come ahead of his next CD release set for September.

A full schedule of festival events is available on the Arts Centre’s website.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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