With new activities and a new location, the annual KidsFEST promises to be bigger and better than in years past.
The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce hosts the event on Sunday and it is moving from its familiar location in Washington Square to the upper level of the Merrimack Street parking deck.
"Organizationally it makes a lot more sense," said event organizer Jen Cantwell of the chamber. "Vendors were tucked into nooks and crannies. This gives us the opportunity to put the stage in central location. Everyone ends up getting more exposure.''
The event is open to children and adults of all ages and will feature disc jockey Juan Moya from Kiss 108 and Jam'n 94.5. Vendors from Haverhill and the surrounding area will set up shop. There will also be events throughout the day on the main stage.
Returning this year are the popular Haverhill Junior and Senior Idol singing competitions. The Junior Idol competition is for children in grades two to six, while the Senior Idol is for grades seven to 12. Each event has two audition rounds before the five finalists are chosen to sing on the main stage. Each finalist gets to sing in front of prominent members of the Haverhill community and the musical community. The judges select three winners in each category who will receive scholarship money from Pentucket Bank.
Children will have the opportunity to compete in pie eating contests, dunk their favorite teacher or school official in the dunk tank and play a large game of musical chairs designed for both kids and adults. Other activities include paper bag puppet making, wrestling demonstrations, ambulance tours and animal demonstrations.
The Chamber of Commerce has also hired special performers to entertain children for the afternoon. Big Smile Entertainment will perform "Salute to Disney" — a show with Disney princes and princesses. The characters will also walk around the event to greet children.
Children will also be able to enjoy pony rides.
A Different Spin is a circus group, performing its acrobatic show on the main stage. Entertainers from that show will have instructional demonstrations before and after the performance.
Matthew Garelick, a balloon master who was popular for his octopus balloons last year, is returning for this year's festivities. Also returning is All Hands Drumming, a group that teaches kids how to play the bongo drums.
Premier sponsors for KidsFEST are Merrimack Valley Hospital and Trinity EMS. The major sponsor is Pentucket Medical Associates. Corporate sponsor is Smile Braces. Media sponsors are The Eagle-Tribune and McDermott & Company Marketing.
Here is the schedule of events:
10:45 a.m.: Doll Parade
11 a.m.: Opening ceremonies
11:15 a.m.: DeAngelis School of Music
11:45 a.m.: Pie eating contests
Noon: Haverhill Jr. Idol contest
12:45 p.m.: Musical chairs contests
1 p.m.: Salute to Disney
1:45 p.m.: Pie eating contests
2 p.m.: A Different Spin
3:15 p.m.: Haverhill Sr. Idol contest
4 p.m.: Festival ends