Springvalley Elementary gives backbeat to Kelowna Fat Cat Festival

Tiffany Walker and her classmates are making drums for their performance at the Fat Cat Festival Friday and Saturday. - Doug Farrow
Tiffany Walker and her classmates are making drums for their performance at the Fat Cat Festival Friday and Saturday.
— image credit: Doug Farrow

“Where is the love? The love is in the house.”

Picture this chant bouncing off the blackboard at Springvalley Elementary School, a thunderous roar of handmade percussion beneath, and a classroom full of enthusiastic Grade 6 drummers getting ready beat down the doors of this weekend’s Fat Cat Festival, and you’ll have a taste what’s to come Friday.

The group of finely-tuned musicians will take the instruments they’ve spent hours making, under the tutelage of local drummer Angela Roy and Mexican drummer Romario Durrand, and offer the drum roll to usher in another successful year at the festival.

“We’re the only school in the Okanagan who get to do this,” said a clearly proud Kate-Lyn Adams, who has a mask carved in her drum as she likes drama and loves to perform.

Needless to say, she’s very excited to take to the stage on Friday and play in the Fat Cat Parade on Saturday.

Some 40 floats have been assembled this year, including two from Washington State (Orville and Marysville), and of course the Fat Cat mascot will be on hand, along with Kelowna’s new Ogopogo float.

“We just want people to come down and have a great time,” said artistic director Dorothee Birker.

“It’s a great family event and we try to make sure our program is fun for everybody.”

On that note, Fat Cat has gone global with its Where in the World is Fat Cat? marketing theme.

“It’s about accepting people who are different and how everybody should just have a place in the world,” said Birker.

The Japanese Yamabiko Taido Drummers will perform, as will ventriloquist Kellie Haines, whose shows focus on environmental themes and celebrating diversity.

Birker said the festival has been trying to book Haines to come up from the Lower Mainland for several years.

The performer has written two long-running stage shows—Frogs In Space: Kamilla’s Quest and Rocket Magrau: Space Bird—and released her own CD, Songs From Space.

She will be joined by storytellers The Trollsons, Wentworth Music’s own Band Factory, Brazilian Samba Batucada group Funky Loops, and the guitar-playing, singing, dancing game-playing wonder that is PT The Clown.

The festival also gives local performers a chance to strut their stuff, as fiddlers Chloe, Kyle & Co., or Chloe and Kyle Davidson, will attest.

Walking through the crowds will be the eight-foot tall Roaming Diva, who belts out Broadway tunes, fairy godmother Snowbella Mistiba, the silent clown Alexander, Kiki the Eco Elf and the eight-winged Angel on the Loose.

This year so many people volunteered to face-paint organizers had to hold orientations to ensure the artists are all on the same page.

Held at Waterfront Park, the two-day event will cause some street closures Saturday as the parade winds along Bernard Avenue and Water Street beginning at 10 a.m.

A detailed program guide can be found at or in last Sunday’s (June 5) edition of the Capital News.

There is a $5 per head charge or $15 for a family of four.

The non-profit society donates tickets to local service agencies to ensure those who cannot afford to go have a means of getting in, Birker said.

The business community also donates funds to sponsor school groups, which attend on Friday, June 10.



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