What is More Important?

What is really important in an Adventure? Or in a children’s event? That the kids have fun, or that it meets the parent’s expectation?

I’ve been trying to write about the Children’s Festival since we went on Saturday afternoon.

It was a gorgeous, sunny, warm – even hot – day. We had a picnic lunch with healthy and yummy food packed in the Adventure Bag, took the ferries down False Creek to Vanier Park, and passed by several places Cameron wanted to stop (that would’ve been free) because I thought he’d enjoy some of the things there. He was pretty overwhelmed at first, but once he got into the ‘giant sand box’ they had set up he relaxed. Cameron spotted a bunch of kids flying paper kites, and others who had their faces painted, and so we happily set off to find these activities. “I want to be a puppy,” he told the volunteer at the face painting tent, and she set to work. I was amazed. My little boy sat still for this! Brown across his nose and cheeks, freckle-spots, whiskers, and a tongue on his chin. Anticipation lit up his eyes and he squirmed as she reached for a mirror – then a little wriggly puppy broke into an enormous grin once he saw himself. The kite we made with a volunteer’s assistance, then ran around with. He had little luck getting the thing to fly himself, so up on my shoulders he went and we raced back and forth to make it fly. Cameron got to try his first sno-cone, requesting one with lots of colours. After a puppet show in a teepee where a bald eagle told stories about bears and coyotes, it was back to the sand box. Seriously, the kid had fun.

The sand box was dusty gravel that got in his shoes and caked him all over in grimy grey. The kite frustrated, upset and disappointed him more than anything else. There was mud everywhere – I mean, surely they knew that a mist-spraying bottled water advertisement would create enormous puddles. Everything for sale was horrendously overpriced. The portapotties, while clean-ish, were on a slope that was nausea-inducing for motionsick prone people (like myself) and were small so it was hard to help a barely toilet trained kid go. Sure, they supplied sinks with running water, but the sinks were so large that even many older kids couldn’t reach the water. They were flimsy so when determined kids tried to wash their hands the kids slipped and fell. While I expected to pay an entrance fee, ten bucks each?  Are you kidding me? The puppet show was cute, and the face painting precious, but basically I paid twenty bucks to let my child see a whole lot of commercials and try to cart home a truckload of paraphernalia printed with ads too.

No. I paid twenty bucks to get in. And my child had fun being a puppy, watching Korean drummers and dancers, watching a bald eagle tell a story, playing in the sun, and doing something different. That’s what is important.

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5 responses to “What is More Important?

  1. thank you. you just made me feel appreciated, believe it or not.

    it’s the catch 22 of event planning. no one appreciates how good it was until they see how easily it can go bad.

  2. these things are really really hard. How do you keep the costs down so that its is only $10? With lots of sponsors who want to advertise EVERYwhere. Its a hard balance to strike.

  3. Oh, I do agree, it was a successful adventure for sure. And I know that in events where costs are kept down you often see advertising to compensate … but oy. I don’t consider a 20 dollar event to be ‘keeping costs down’ that much. Imagine if I had more kids, or a partner who wanted to go too? It just didn’t measure up IMO. BUT that’s not what’s important. He had fun.

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