Games, entertainment and pony rides, oh my!
The third annual Camellia City Kids Fun Fest, one of the largest children’s festivals on the northshore, will take place on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Slidell’s Heritage Park. Admission is $5 per person and all activities are included. Proceeds benefit Riley’s Bikes, a local charity that provides customized bikes for children with special needs.
This year’s Kids Fest will be a bittersweet event, as it is being held in memory of Lt. Ray Dupuy, who was one of the founding members of the festival. On September 20, 2017, Dupuy, a Shift Supervisor in the Patrol Division of the Slidell Police Department, died tragically in a motorcycle accident.
“Ray really enjoyed kids. He and his Leadership Northshore team wanted to do a children’s festival that was affordable, that way large families like ours could attend,” said Ray’s wife, Connie Dupuy. “Ray loved this project and I enjoyed volunteering each year. We loved seeing the families in Heritage Park and all the kids having fun. We were all about the kids.”
This year’s poster artist is John, a STARC artist. John first began working with STARC through the Special Education’s “Supported Employment” program while he attended Mandeville High School. When he graduated from Mandeville High in 2017, he continued working with the Adult Day Program at the STARC West location. Since 1972, STARC of Louisiana, Inc. has been committed to providing a lifetime of Service, Training, Advocacy, Resources and Community connections for individuals with disABILITIES.
John enjoys working in the Flatware Packaging Department where he claims to be an “expert” in napkin folding. He also enjoys working in the Mardi Gras bead room, and going on outings with his co-workers. John’s hobby since a child has been collecting Disney VHS tapes, DVD and Blu Ray discs and he has collected over 1,000 of them. John’s personal gift of memory allows him to tell you specific details about every one of them. He is definitely a “Disney Expert!”
One of the highlights of this year’s Kids Fest will be the Lucky Ducky Duck Race, presented by the Rotary Club of Slidell. Tickets for this fun-raising duck race will be sold at the festival for $10 each or 3 tickets for $25. The numbers on the tickets coincide with the numbers on the rubber duckies. The ducks will be placed in Bayou Bonfouca and will be pushed by a fire hose along the water course. The first duck to cross the finish line wins it’s ticket owner $500. Other prizes will also be awarded and you need not be present to win. The Lucky Ducky Duck race begins at 4 p.m. so be sure to be there to cheer on your ducks! Money raised will benefit Riley’s Bikes and other Rotary charities. If you would like to purchase tickets in advance, please call Barbara at 985-290-6939 to find out other places they will be available.
In addition to the rubber duck race, there will inflatables, games, arts and crafts, a petting zoo and live music and entertainment, including the the inaugural Singing Showdown competition. Kids ages 5 to 18 can compete in a vocal showdown. The best singer, decided by a panel of judges, will receive a special award and bragging rights. Registration begins at 11 a.m. near the amphitheater stage and the competition begins at 3 p.m.
This year, the Camellia City Kids Fun Fest has partnered with Bring it Home Northshore to honor our military heroes and their families. Active or retired military personnel who present a valid military ID will receive two free food tickets to enjoy at the festival.
The Camellia City Kids Fun Fest began as a Leadership Northshore 2016 event. Over the past two years, the festival has raised over $30,000 for Children’s Wish Foundation and Riley’s Bikes. This year’s event is presented by the Camellia City Kids Fun Fest board – Kelly Burdett, Alex Carollo, Dan Crowley, Ray Dupuy III, Eva Moore, Jeannie Vicari and Kevin Walcott – with support from the Northshore Community Foundation.
“The Camellia City Kids Fest meant a lot to my dad and my family,” said Ray Dupuy III, who took his father’s place on the board. “I want to continue my dad’s legacy of service to our community. I was glad to be able to volunteer at the first two festivals and am happy to continue his hard work and efforts in bringing this event to our community.”