Funnyman Fred Penner highlights kids fest

Island Children’s Festival runs Saturday, May 12, 1 to 5 p.m.

Popular children’s entertainer Fred Penner headlines the Island Children’s Festival this weekend.

Fred Penner, one of Canada’s most celebrated children’s entertainers, committed his life to the world of entertainment when he was just a young man in the early ‘70s after tragedy struck his family.

“I had a younger sister, who was a Down syndrome child, she passed away, and a year later my dad died. So in my early 20s I had this intense mortality check and made the decision there and then to attempt to follow my bliss and pursue music as a career,” Penner told the News last week, on the phone from Toronto.

Though he had a formal education in economics – a career he says he never would’ve enjoyed – his first serious foray into the industry was with a comedic folk band that played in bars and universities.

Penner, who scored a CBC TV show, Fred Penner’s Place in 1985 after half a decade of success writing children’s music, says the core elements of performing with the comedic band – communication, interaction, participation – continue to help him today.

“We’re in an absolutely messed up world. The insanity is complete. The battles that are raging in every corner of this planet are constant,” Penner began, “and the only way, I think, to find a balance in this is through human contact.”

That’s why, he said, events like this weekend’s Island Children’s Festival, are important.

“What we need to do is really focus on the kids. Because if we make a strong child, if they really understand who they are and how they fit in the global perspective, in the environmental world, how they interact with each other, then we’ll actually have a chance at affecting the next generation,” he said.

Penner will headline this Saturday’s Island Children’s Festival at the Island Montessori House School at 5575 W. Saanich Rd. In addition to music, there will also be kids crafts, face painting, children’s yoga, storytelling and a bouncy castle.

Penner, who asked that his age not be shared, says he feels like he’s 30 years old, based on the life, emotional energy and youthful exuberance he continues to exude.

Having been a pioneer in the industry for 40 years, he said children’s entertainment has been watered down by businesses looking to make money, rather than working on a philosophy of putting kids first.

“There needs to be a new level of commitment of work for children and families. It’s not just a matter of getting up and singing songs – it’s essential to your understanding of life and how you communicate with people,” Penner said. “Never underestimate your ability to make a difference in the life of a child.”

Island Children’s Festival

When: Saturday, May 12, 1 to 5 p.m.

Tickets: $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Kids under 6 are free. Available at any Megson FitzPatrick Insurance location.

For more info: islandchildrensfestival.com

Just Posted

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Two-sailing waits continue Victoria to Tsawwassen

Backlog continues despite extra sailings over Easter

Saanich soccer player survives bout with flesh eating disease

Harinder Sandhu picked up the disease after soccer game

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Most Read