Another year, another day (or two, if you're brave) of stimulated, noisy children. Yes, the Children's Art Festival returns for its 29th year, featuring crafts, magicians and musical performers that you would never, ever, consider listening to if it weren't for the kids.
But the kids are there and demand your love, affection and hard earned dollars for the necessary creative stimulation to make them well-rounded and normal. As such, you must take them to the Children's Art Festival. You simply must.
With a little help from Pique (where the writers understand the plight of parents with young children), you'll get through the day with enough gusto to cook dinner at the end of the day — or at least pay for Boston Pizza.
The festival is running on Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), but most parents will take their children to one day only. We've written this survival guide for a single-day quest into Creekside Village.
If you're heading in for two, you're beyond our help... but there's plenty of information available at www.artswhistler.com.
9 a.m. Eat a well-balanced breakfast. And drink coffee. Lots of coffee.
10 – 11:25 a.m. We recommend starting early. The sooner you get in, the sooner the kids'll tire out. Fortunately, at this time, there'll be excellent entertainment — Bobs and Lolo on Saturday and Norman Foote on Sunday. Both acts have the uncanny songwriting abilities to excite the minds of children while not prompting exploding craniums amongst the adults.
Don't stand around for too long, though. Get acquainted with the festival grounds. Locate the nearest washrooms! Take the children to get their faces painted — at the very least it will have them seated and under control. Take a quick look at what workshops are being offered and carefully decide which of these will A) nurture your child's creativity and B) produce the least amount of junk. Remember though: each workshop is designed for a specific age group.
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. With your children safely stored in one of the various workshops, take a quick bathroom break to drain the remnants of all that excess coffee you drank in the morning. The keen and loving parent will then return to the workshop station and provide positive reinforcement for their children as they hone their newly-discovered artistic abilities.
That's cool, but this time also provides the opportunity for relative solitude, because while the festival grounds will be swelling with more and more children with every passing minute, you'll have a few spare moments without your own to cool down at the Whistler Water misting station. Allow yourself to zone out and prepare, for five minutes at least, for the next one-to-three hours.
12:35 – 1:55 p.m.:Eat lunch. There will be plenty of food tents from local merchants that will provide adequate sustenance for the children. If they appear a little over-excited, refuse them the option of Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola or other caffeinated drinks. Make sure that they carry their own recently completed crafts. Children must learn to take responsibility for their possessions. Even toddlers. You'll thank us in 20 years.
We recommend some flexibility in your schedule here. There's so much happening at this year's festival that a little whimsy will allow your children to experience the festival in full. As you know, an appeased child is a sane(r) adult.
Perhaps they'd like to take a picture with a police car? Perhaps get a henna tattoo? Try to let loose here and have fun.
2 p.m. – 3:15p.m. Head for the bouncy castle. It's entirely possible that your child will have some excess energy that may be misdirected if left unchecked. We don't want to see any tantrums this year. It will be hot though, so get ready to head back to the misting station.
Following that, check out Professional Zaniac (Saturday and Sunday), at 2:30 p.m. Yes, his childish humour might test your ever-depleting patience, but he'll entertain the kids, and that's far more important in the long run.
3:30 p.m. You're still there?
Eesh. You must be a saint or some kind of warrior. You deserve some kind of award.
It's not a total loss, anyway. It's time for magic — and by that we mean magicians, not the ability to vanish in a cloud of smoke.
Park your kids amongst the other children in the crowd at the front of the main stage, then retreat to the rim where you can watch them from a careful distance.
You could actually watch the programming as well — two of the finest magicians working in family entertainment: Matthew Johnson on Saturday and Zany Zack on Sunday, . Their tricks will leave you more befuddled than you'd felt all day.
4:15: p.m. Return home. Breathe. Take a nap.