How fitting that Ontario’s youngest holiday is perfect for the young ‘uns. Family Day is soon upon us, meaning it’s time for the return of Kidapalooza, where 15,000 are expected to gather for pretty much every form of play imaginable.
From singalongs and dance-offs to crafts and construction, the event promises indoor and outdoor fun for kids of all ages, according to organizer Olivera Pavlovic of Ell’events Event Planning and Design, which runs Kidapalooza. The confab will be taking over the Markham Fair Grounds for the entire Family Day weekend, Feb. 16 to 18, boasting 50,000 square feet of indoor activities alone.
All of the activities are kid-tested, approved by Pavlovic’s own children.
“My daughter is turning into the event planner,” she joked. “I have them test out everything. They tried out all the building blocks before we introduced them and there was one that they had no interest in, so we had to scrap it.”
Pavlovic has tried to keep up with the event’s growth over the past four years by continuously adding new activities and features. Some of the building block components are new to this year. Also, Peppa Pig will be making her first ever Greater Toronto Area appearance at Kidapalooza.
But it isn’t just the kids who get to have fun this Family Day. Thanks to a Trillium grant, Moksha Canada is hosting the first ever Markham Intergenerational Family Day and Games, Feb. 16 to 18 at the Armadale Community Centre. The DJed event features activities for all ages, including a basketball tournament, dance and yoga workshops, table tennis and a space specifically for seniors. The goal is to bring all generations of families together.
Those looking for a quieter way to pass the day can always take part in the Family Day Canvas Challenge, an interactive art program hosted by the Varley Art Gallery. The event lets families take part in a fun, educational experience by having them create their own masterpieces, inspired by works in the Varley’s permanent collection.
Markham’s budding artists can also try their hands at the Winged Canvas Family Day Paint Party on Feb. 18. The afternoon sessions are guided by two themes: polar bears, in the first group, and deer, in the second. The event doubles as Winged Canvas’ fifth anniversary.
For the truly outdoorsy, Rouge National Urban Park is running a series of outdoor activities as part of WinterRouge on Family Day. The full slate of activities hasn’t yet been announced, but one feature will be the Great Backyard Bird Count.
While there’s no shortage of things to do, Pavlovic said the hallmark of the day is that families will do it together.
“It’s a long weekend in the middle of winter,” she said. “I love that there’s no commitment to do anything else. Usually with a long weekend like Thanksgiving you are going all these places or, with Victoria Day, you feel like you have to go camping. It’s one of those weekends where it’s literally just about family and there’s nothing else to focus on.”
Family Day in Markham
February 16 to 18 at the Markham Fair Grounds
Tickets: $25 for children two and up, $8 for adults, or $60 for a family pass (two adults and two children)
Tickets and information are available at kidapalooza.ca
Markham Intergenerational Family Day & Games
February 16 to 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Armadale Community Centre
Information available at mokshacanada.com
Family Day Canvas Challenge
February 18, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Varley Art Gallery
Tickets: $40 for a family of four, plus $5 per additional person
Details available at (905) 477-7000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Day Paint Party
February 18, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (polar bears) and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (deer)
Winged Canvas Art Hub, 185 Bullock Dr., Unit 1
Tickets: $40 per painted for 9”x12” canvas, plus $15 extra per person for shared 16”x20” canvas
Information and registration at wingedcanvas.com
February 18, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bob Hunter Memorial Park
Photo: Children watch a Chinese dragon dance at last year’s Kidapalooza, returning to the Markham Fair Grounds February 16 to 18. (Handout / Ell’events Events Planning & Design)