Taking place in May at the Surrey Arts Centre and Bear Creek Park, the Surrey International Children’s Festival used to host all kinds of fun kids’ activities.
2019 was the last year of the festival, however. As of 2022, there is a new, but similar event called Surrey SPARK Stages.
A NEW EVENT IN 2022
After two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, the Surrey International Children’s Festival doesn’t return in 2022. Instead, it’s been replaced by a new festival taking place at the same venue, Surrey SPARK Stages. This series of events takes place from May 27th to 29th, 2022, with the goal of turning these performances into more of a year-round experience.
SPARK Stages events taking place in May of 2022 include dance and circus performances, a concert, puppet shows, a historical one-woman show and more. Tickets for each show are sold individually. There are also some smaller activities set to take place at the Surrey Arts Centre throughout the weekend.
Click Surrey SPARK Stages for more information about the new event in 2022.
Surrey Children’s Festival
In 2020 the Surrey International Children’s Festival was supposed to take place from Thursday, May 21, to Saturday, May 23. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The festival didn’t happen in 2021 either. The festival returns in 2022, kind of, but in a new format and under a new name..
In the past the festival has been all about “inspiring young hearts and minds through the arts.” The theme in 2019 was “Seriously.” At the event there are usually arts and crafts activities, a storytelling tent, live entertainment and various workshops.
Times and Location
The Surrey International Children’s Festival used to take place indoors at the Surrey Arts Centre at 13750-88th Avenue as well as outside on the grounds of adjacent Bear Creek Park in late May. It was going to run from May 21st to the 23rd in 2020. Its hours were going to be 9:00 am to 2:30 pm on the Thursday and Friday, and from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm on Saturday.
Festival performances used to take place at five different venues. The Main Stage Theatre, Studio Theatre and Lily Pad Stage are all at the Surrey Arts Centre which is located at the entrance to Bear Creek Park at 13750 88 Avenue. The Community Spirit Stage and Leap Frog Stage, meanwhile, are located in the park.
Admission to the Surrey Arts Centre and festival grounds was free, although most performances and activities were ticketed.
A regular ticket for a show on the Thursday and Friday cost $10 for anyone ages 3+ and included an Arts Activity Wristband. The fee for children under 3 years of age was $7.
A Saturday All Access Pass cost $12 for most folks, but $7 for kids under age 3. It included unlimited access to performances and art activities, or at least as much as time and demand permit. For $12, it was a fairly good deal if you planned to stay for a reasonable chunk of the day.
For anyone just wanting an Arts Activity Wristband, and no shows, the cost for all ages was $7. Arts Activity Wristbands are valid for all three days of the festival.
Performers & Performances
Entertainers and shows that were scheduled to perform for the 2020 season before it was cancelled are listed below. (Note: Performance details were subject to change.)
- TWEET TWEET! – circus entertainment that’s suitable for young children (ages 6 months-6 years).
- RedPath Performance – flow arts and hooping dancing with shows suitable for all ages.
- Stacey Matson – a literary workshop about writer’s block. Suitable for elementary school-aged children from 8 to 12 years of age.
- BC World Music Collective – musicians from all over the world perform for folk of all ages.
- Charlotte Diamond – musical performances in English and French (for children ages 3 to 8).
- Cynthia Nugent – a literary workshop about writing and illustrating that’s suitable for older elementary school-aged children between the ages of 9 and 12.
- Rod Boss – a comic and magician. His shows are suitable for kids of all ages.
- Something From Nothing: A Songwriting Experience with Mil’s Trills – a songwriting and music workshop suitable for children ages 18 months to 8 years old.
- Lee Edward Födi and The Wizard’s Suitcase: Unpacking the Art of Creativity – a creative literary arts workshop (for children ages 6-12).
Shows run for between around 40 and 65 minutes each.
Below is what the performance schedule looked like for 2020 before the event was cancelled. (Note: Times, locations and other details were subject to change.)
Thursday, May 21, 2020
- 9:30 am – TWEET TWEET pre-show for ticket holders (in the Studio Theatre)
- 10:00 am – BC World Music Collective performs in French (on the Main Stage)
- 10:00 am – Kallie George: Soaring Through Stories (on the Lily Pad Stage)
- 10:25 am – TWEET TWEET post-show meet and greet (in the Studio Theatre)
- 12:00 pm – Charlotte Diamond (on the Main Stage)
- 12:00 pm – writing workshop with Tanya Lloyd Kyi (on the Lily Pad Stage)
- 12:30 pm – TWEET TWEET (in the Studio Theatre)
- 1255 pm – TWEET TWEET post-show meet and greet for ticket holders (in the Studio Theatre)
Friday, May 22, 2020
- 10:00 am – Charlotte Diamond performs in French (on the Main Stage)
- 10:00 am – Monique Gray Smith: Happiness, Love and Kindness (on the Lily Pad Stage)
- 12:00 pm – RedPath Performance (on the Main Stage)
- 12:00 pm – Monique Gray Smith: Happiness, Love and Kindness (on the Lily Pad Stage)
Saturday, May 23, 2020
- 11:00 am – A Songwriting Experience with Mil’s Trills (in the Studio Theatre)
- 11:00 am – workshop with Lee Edward Födi (on the Lily Pad Stage)
- 12:00 pm – Charlotte Diamond (on the Main Stage)
- 1:00 pm – A Songwriting Experience with Mil’s Trills (in the Studio Theatre)
- 1:00 pm – Comedy Magic with Rod Boss (in Art Studio 1)
- 2:15 pm – RedPath Performance (on the Main Stage)
- 3:00 pm – TWEET TWEET pre-show for ticket holders (in the Studio Theatre)
- 3:00 pm – Stacey Matson (on the Lily Pad Stage)
- 3:30 pm – TWEET TWEET (on the Main Stage)
- 3:50 pm – Comedy Magic with Rod Boss (in Art Studio 1)
- 3:55 pm – TWEET TWEET post-show meet and greet for ticket holders (in the Studio Theatre)
- 5:00 pm – TWEET TWEET pre-show for ticket holders (in the Studio Theatre)
- 5:00 pm – writing and illustrating workshop with Cynthia Nugent (on the Lily Pad Stage)
- 5:30 pm – TWEET TWEET (in the Studio Theatre)
- 5:55 pm – TWEET TWEET post-show meet and greet for ticket holders (in the Studio Theatre)
- 6:15 pm – BC Music Collective (on the Main Stage)
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your experience at the festival.
TIP #1: Buy the wristband and pay the extra couple of dollars to see the shows and enjoy everything. It’s a pretty good deal.
TIP #2: If it’s a sunny day, pack a picnic and between the festival and the park, plan to stay for the day.
Other Things to Do
If you head out to Surrey for the children’s festival, while you’re there be sure to check out the Art Gallery at the Surrey Arts Centre. It’s small, but free, and often has interesting displays.
Also, be sure to wander around beautiful Bear Creek Park, with its gardens and great children’s play areas, including an awesome water park (which operates seasonally and subject to water restrictions).
For information on other Metro Vancouver festivals, including the Vancouver International Children’s Festival which takes place around the end of May/beginning of June, check out Vancouver’s Festivals and Events Calendar.
For ideas on other things to do with kids, see Vancouver’s Best Places for Children.
To learn more about the Surrey International children’s Festival see the City of Surrey website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Children’s Festival
- May Calendar of Events in Vancouver
- June Calendar of Events in Vancouver
- City of Surrey
For information about a similar event in the Sea to Sky region, click Whistler Children’s Festival.