A tyrannosaurus rex from Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo, the Australia-based puppet and theatre group,
entertains at the 2012 Okanagan International Children's Festival. This year's festival has been cancelled.
The festival's board of directors has cancelled the event for this year, deciding the new person
being hired to run the show won't have enough time to put it together properly before its scheduled dates, May 23-25.
Board chairman Jason Cox said the board is in the process of hiring a new executive director to replace Conrad Burek, who told directors last November he was stepping down. Burek held the position the previous two years.
Though the board has found a new executive director, an agreement hasn't been finalized yet.
So, the board decided this week it would be best to wait until 2014 rather than put the show together in a short period. An administrative position will be filled once the executive director is formally hired.
Cox said the board had discussed hiring an administrative team and retaining Burek as a consultant for this year.
"We worked out a number of different scenarios to try to make the festival happen in 2013," he said. "The truth is, to do it properly and for the health of the festival to put on a good event . . . you need a dedicated, full-time staff."
Financially, the event is on solid footing, Cox said.
"There's nothing wrong with the finances. The money is there to do a festival."
Cox pointed out that even though the event is taking a year off, funding will be retained for when the festival resumes in 2014.
"If the funding would've been in jeopardy, we obviously would've put on some sort of festival, but the belief of the board is that we want to put on a good festival every year," he said.
The festival grew each year and generally has drawn about 10,000 children and adults. Students from school districts throughout the Okanagan make it an annual stop, as do many other school districts. Youngsters have made the trip from Tonasket, Wash., each year due to its popularity.
In past years, the festival has attracted many first-rate entertainers, including children's performers Fred Penner and Charlotte Diamond and the National Acrobats of Taiwan.