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Kidfest in Concord turns 30 and it’s fresh as ever

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Kidfest in Concord turns 30 and it’s fresh as ever
Bay Area KidFest offers 20 rides for kids of all ages, including the popular Dragon Wagon Roller Coaster. The 30th annual KidFest is May 25-27 on the Memorial Day Weekend in downtown Concord. (Holly Sonne photo)

On Memorial Day Weekend over 20,000 kids, parents and grandparents will visit Mt. Diablo High School in downtown Concord to take part in the city’s largest annual celebration, Bay Area KidFest. This is the 30th edition of KidFest and event producer Jay Bedecarre says the entertainment, activities, attractions, exhibitors and food are just as fresh today as they were in the debut 1990 KidFest.

On hand to entertain KidFest audiences May 25-27 will be the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, BMX Freestyle Team, Professor Smart’s Science Show, Python Ron’s Reptile Kingdom and Kid’s Town America.

The racing pigs, BMX Freestyle Team and the Reptile Kingdom are all making repeat appearances based on overwhelming positive feedback from their shows in the past two years. The racing pigs and BMX team each present four shows daily while Kid’s Town is open all day for KidFest attendees to experience.

Todd Victor and his trusty sidekick Lizette Guy brought the Jest in Time Circus to KidFest five times. Recently he developed Professor Smart’s Science Show where he uses his comedic talents to present scientific principles in an engaging way for kids and adults alike. Professor Smart will present three shows daily under his huge blue and yellow circus tent. Before each science show Reptile Ron will share his exotic Animal Kingdom.

One of the main features of KidFest since its beginning is having superstar costume characters meet and greet their fans. Spider-Man and Olaf will both be on hand all weekend to have their photo taken.

Kidfest in Concord turns 30 and it’s fresh as ever
KidFest debuted in downtown Concord in 1990. KidFest managers, with up to 26 years as part of the event, will have worked a combined 148 KidFests when this year’s 30th annual festival is held May 25-27. The KidFest team includes, from left, producer Jay Bedecarré, Loretta Hill, Kathie Leavitt, Larry Witus, Janine Witus, Samantha Samuels, Ingrid McVanner and Andrea Caton. (Photo courtesy Bay Area KidFest)

When the city of Concord and producer Beth Clark began KidFest the goal was “to lay the cornerstone for the premier children’s event in the Bay Area.” Consider that goal accomplished. Clark was the creative force behind KidFest for 20 years before she turned over KidFest to Bedecarre when the City said it was no longer able to assist in the production nor have it in Todos Santos Plaza.

Bedecarre moved the event four blocks down Grant St. to his alma mater, Mt. Diablo High. For the past 10 years at the new site KidFest has much more space, enabling the longest-running family event in the East Bay to add large scale traveling attractions, kid’s carnival rides and other activities that simply wouldn’t fit on the square block footprint at Todos Santos.

KidFest kept all its popular activities that go back to its beginnings. Free face painting, balloon animals, spin art, keepsake handprints, inflatable crawls and slides, and non-stop entertainment by local groups on the community stage are integral parts of the KidFest experience.

Most everything is free with the low admission price. There’s an extra charge for the eclectic food court, rides and purchases from arts and crafts and other exhibitors.

KidFest’s rides include the popular Dragon Wagon Roller Coaster, zipline, Ferris Wheel, pony ride, petting zoo, giant slide, train, Spider Mountain and a dozen more. All-day ride wristbands are now sold so that the user can go on every ride. There are discounted ride ticket packages also sold that can be used by the entire family.

Proceeds from KidFest benefit local educational, health and sports groups. Over the past 29 years KidFest has raised nearly $500,000 for schools, sports, health and other local non-profits. KidFest continues for the 24th year as one of the major annual donor events for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

This year, Dogs for Diabetics will be accepting clothing and small household good donations in the KidFest parking lot each day.

KidFest admission price has increased by only $1 since 1994, when attendees donate a canned good to the Food Bank in return for a $1 discount on the low admission price. On Saturday, attendees can bring two cans and get $2 off for a $5 admission. Babies under 24 months and seniors 65 and over are free.

Visit KidFestConcord.com for complete information and a schedule of events.

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