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Family fun at the Exhibition

Posted on December 26, 2013 by Lethbridge Sun Times

Lethbridge Herald file photo

Family Fest will once again offer plenty of fun for youngsters, including Astro Jumps, when it returns to Exhibition Park Dec. 31, providing a family-friendly way to welcome the new year.

Free family fun will be in abundance at the 18th Annual Family Fest set to go New Year’s Eve at Exhibition Park.

For the past 17 years, Exhibition Park and Visitlethbridge.com have been helping families celebrate the New Year with free entertainment and activities on the last evening of the year, says Doug Kryzanowski, manager of marketing for Exhibition Park.

“This year is no exception as we have developed, what we hope, is an entertaining evening for everyone,” he says.

Last year’s event drew about 5,000 people and this year is expected to be even more popular with organizers changing the start time to 5 p.m. Previously, the event was held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“Festivities will start an hour earlier at 5 p.m. and end earlier at 9 p.m.,” Kryzanowski says.

“This allows everyone to get home in good time to continue to celebrate New Year’s at home. too.”

Held in the North and South Pavilions at Exhibition Park, the alcohol-free event features free admission and organizers have planned the event as a low-cost, fun evening for attendees.

Free activities include the Ag for Life Rollover Simulator, UFA Petting Zoo, Astro Jumps, Woosh Tattoos, Criss Wiebe Face Painting, Wendy’s Rainbow the Clown and Wally Woo Hoo the Clown, as well as a colouring table and button photos.

Kryzanowski says two new paid activities will be available this year — donkey and pony rides for $2 per person and the Air Jump Waterball for $5 per person. The Waterball activity allows participants to move around on the surface of a giant pool while staying dry inside large, clear plastic balls.

“We’re really glad to see this activity return, as we had it a few years ago and it was very popular,” says Kryzanowski.

The lineup of free entertainment at the Movie Mill Entertainment Stage include the EXTREME Cheer Sensation at 5:30 p.m., the Rocky Mountain Cloggers at 6:30 p.m. and the Wendy’s Rainbow the Clown Show at 7:30 p.m.

Exhibition Park will also be offering a concession special consisting of a hot dog, bag of chips and a pop for $5 to help keep costs down for families, says Kryzanowski.

Supporting partners of Family Fest are Visitlethbridge.com, Sun Life Financial, Lays Chips, Western One Rentals and Sales, Neudorf Plumbing Solutions, The Movie Mill, Gas King, UFA, KPMG, Pizza Hut, ATCO, Wendy’s Restaurant and Ag for Life.

Kryzanowski says volunteers play a vital role in the success of the event, with about 80 needed to supervise and help with the games and activities.

“Volunteers are still required for various positions such as coat check, assisting with games, etc.,” he says. Interested volunteers can contact Mandi White at 403-894-0243.

“Family Fest is a special event — the atmosphere of the evening makes it a lot of fun for everyone, volunteers included,” says Kryzanowski.

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