Calgary Children’s Festival folding after 32 years

Board cites difficult economy and decreasing sponsorship as reason for the closure

The Calgary International Children's Festival sold many of its tickets to school in the Calgary Area (Courtesy Arts Commons)

A Calgary community tradition reaching back three decades has announced this was their final year.

The Calgary International Children’s Festival will not take place in 2019, according to a release from the festival’s board of directors.

Work has begun to dissolve the society.

The festival featured outdoor activities at Olympic Plaza and performance artists in Arts Commons.

The release cites a challenging economy, an unstable operating model and cost structure, and a decrease in available funds.

Board chair Carri Clarke explained to LiveWire that only about 10 per cent of their funding came from ticket sales.

The rest was a mix of government support, corporate support, and fundraising.

“Our corporate sponsorship numbers has been decreasing significantly over the past few years,” said Clarke.

The mandate of the festival was to keep tickets affordable for families. Last year’s price for tickets was around $17, plus fees.

With sponsorship dropping, they felt it would be prudent to wrap things up rather than try to go another year and risk raising prices too much.

The festival will use remaining money in its coffers to square up with vendors and pay any bills, plus the legal costs of dissolving.

The loss of the festival means the end of two full-time and two part-time positions.

“There will be just enough money to allocate a severance, pay for our audit, pay for our final legal fees,” said Clarke.

“We don’t expect that there would be significant money left over.”

She said there was potential to try for one more year, but it could’ve been a risky venture had any funding fallen through.

“We thought the board made a responsible decision to shut at this time, said Clarke.

“We had such a great festival this year so we thought we’d leave on a high note.”

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