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FOR THE KIDS : A Walk on the Child Side : Decorative tile work, made by about 1,500 youngsters last spring, will be dedicated at 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by a free 1 p.m. art festival.


While people ooh and ah over the new Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks this weekend, kids will have some artwork of their own to admire outside the theater complex.

About 1,500 children from all over the Conejo Valley had a hand in making the meandering sidewalk outside the complex. They each decorated tiles last spring that were finally laid into the sidewalk last week.

The massive tile project, sponsored by the city, will be dedicated Sunday amid all the hoopla over the Arts Plaza's grand opening. But the dedication, which begins at 11 a.m., is a real children's event. After the formalities, they can join in a treasure hunt and see some entertainment.

The affair will be followed at 1 p.m. by more kid stuff: The Children's Festival of the Arts. Put on by the Conejo Recreation and Park District, this free outdoor event is crammed with arts and crafts activities for kids who like to be creatively messy.

It's geared for children 3 to 12 years old. They can do everything from decorating Pogs to painting rocks and creating sculptures out of wood scraps. They'll learn how to weave on canvas with yarn and how to make tile trivets.

The Conejo Valley Chapter of the National Charity League is helping put on the festival, which organizers anticipate will draw about 3,000 children. The league will have 100 teen-age girls on hand to help the children with the crafts.

During the afternoon, the children can take a break from the activities and enjoy a slate of entertainers that includes: the California Dance Theatre and the Ritter Dance Company, both of Agoura Hills, along with Bobbie's School of Performing Arts, Conejo Valley Cloggers, Conejo Clarinet Consort and Fanfare Dance Team, all of Thousand Oaks.

The festival runs until 4 p.m.--plenty of time to peruse the sidewalk tile art too. The city held workshops last May and June, giving children a chance to draw on and paint a 6-inch-square piece of tile. Special provisions were made to include the artwork of disabled children.

The children paid $5 for the privilege so the project was carried off without any city funds, according to Carol Williams, a senior management analyst and co-chairwoman of the effort. GTE chipped in some money for children unable to pay the $5.

"They are amazingly creative," Williams said. The older children were asked to design around the concept of giving the world a gift. The younger ones were given another theme--Jungleland, which was previously located on the site of the theater complex--so many design motifs are animals.


Speaking of the jungle, Cal Lutheran University's Children's Theatre will stage Edward Mast's "Jungalbook" at the new Civic Arts Plaza this week.

Adapted from Rudyard Kipling's tales, this is the story of the boy Mowgli, who was raised in India's jungle by wolves. It has the other familiar characters--Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther, and Sherakhan the tiger.

In this production, though, the actors wear contemporary clothes while their masks and movements make it clear which characters they are portraying.

Directed by Barbara Wegher-Thompson, the cast will be performing in the smaller Forum Theatre. The 13-member cast includes some local students, Elisa Johns and Bret-Jordan Kreiensieck, both of Thousand Oaks, in the roles of Sherakhan and Bagheera.

Show times are 3:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets are $6. For more information, call 449-ARTS.


Clowns, jugglers, and magic--that's what the Hollywood Magic Circus is all about. It's coming to the Oxnard Civic Auditorium on Thursday for two performances.

Sponsored by the Oxnard Noontimers Lions Club, the circus has an international flavor, along with magic and illusion from Circus Circus in Las Vegas. The shows benefit local sight conservation projects the club supports.

Tickets are $8.75 for adults and $4.75 for children. For information, call 486-2424.


The Santa Barbara Zoo has a couple of new residents. Two rare Amur leopards, siblings, are now on display in a new exhibit near the caracal and lion exhibits. Their home is a lush jungle setting with a small stream.

Less than 50 of these cats remain in the wild, giving them the distinction of being the most endangered cat in the world. This pair was acquired from the Denver Zoo, while their native habitat is northeast Asia.


* WHAT: Children's Tile Project Dedication and the Children's Festival of the Arts.

* WHERE: Outside the Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks.

* WHEN: Dedication starts at 11 a.m., followed by the festival from 1 to 4 p.m.

* CALL: 492-2461.

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