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ANAHEIM'S OTHER OFFERING : For One Day, Anyway, There'll Be Something Besides Disneyland (and Cheaper Too)

April 22, 1993|CORINNE FLOCKEN | Corinne Flocken is a free-lance writer who regularly covers Kid Stuff for The Times Orange County Edition.

Think Anaheim and kids, and instantly you think: Disneyland?

Ah, think again, say the folks behind the Anaheim Children's Festival. By offering dozens of free arts-related activities for children, organizers hope to show families that the city's kid-friendly entertainment doesn't end in the Happiest Parking Lot on Earth ("Darn it, Marge, you said we parked in Goofy, not Thumper!") and can come considerably cheaper.

The festival, presented by the Anaheim Arts Council and the Anaheim Museum with a grant from the Leo Freedman Foundation, will be Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at downtown locations all within walking distance of the Koll Anaheim Center at West Harbor Place and Anaheim Boulevard.

With almost two dozen performances, demonstrations, exhibits and hands-on activities to choose from, children "could easily fill the whole day with fun," notes event spokeswoman Sharon Sanders. The inaugural festival is part of the 1993 Imagination Celebration (see story, Page 9), but, Sanders added, it may stand on its own in the future, depending on the response.

After the opening ceremonies, there will be performances throughout the day on an outdoor stage at the Koll Center, and many of the performers will stick around to lead children's workshops and talk with visitors.

At 11:30 a.m., the combined steel drum orchestras of Cal State Long Beach and Humboldt State University will play tunes inspired by the musics of Trinidad, Jamaica and Cuba. At 12:30 p.m., while the beat is still fresh in their minds, kids can try their hands at "the pans" in a workshop led by orchestra members.

The Anaheim-based Occasional String Band, whose members play banjo, fiddle, string bass and other traditional American instruments at monthly line dances for families, will perform at 1 p.m., and the musicians will be on hand throughout the festival to answer questions and demonstrate how to play the instruments.

Other main-stage performers will include the Veselo Selo Folk Dancers in traditional dances from Israel, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia; and professional storyteller "Grandpa" Jim Lewis, who will encourage youngsters to "conjure up pictures in their minds" with his participatory folk and fairy tales. The folk dancing starts at 2:20 p.m.; Lewis will spin tales at various times.

Also at the main site, children will be able to dabble in the classical art of street painting. Two hundred pavement squares and as many boxes of colored chalk will be available to young artists.

Muralist Roseanna Lester and Jennifer Cardon, the 15-year-old creator of this year's Imagination Celebration logo, will create large-scale works and assist the children. Lester will also guide youngsters in a cooperative mural project outside the Anaheim Museum (241 S. Anaheim Blvd.) that will remain on view until mid-summer. Inside the museum, visitors can take hourly tours of exhibits, including a "Home Sweet Home" hands-on children's display.

Other art-making opportunities range from the museum's "Make It and Take It" crafts booth to a "Make Art Not Graffiti" project sponsored by the Anaheim Drug and Gang Task Force.

Also planned are artist demonstrations of china painting, airbrush art and Chinese brush painting; and a visit from the Nature Mobile, a traveling exhibit from the Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim Hills. Food and drink will be sold.

At 2 and 3:30 p.m. at the Celebrity Theatre (201 E. Broadway), the Pacific Symphony will present narrated performances of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf." Reservations for these performances are suggested.

Although it has a modest budget compared to those of other Imagination Celebration events (the Freedman grant totaled $7,500; the arts council and museum kicked in about the same amount), the Anaheim Children's Festival is still the largest event of its kind to be held in the city in 20 years, Sanders says.

"We want to encourage kids to bring out their artistic abilities," she said, "and discover just how much is out there for them."

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