Having turned up the volume of family-friendly events over the past year, the City of Irving has announced the grand return of Canal Fest. After a hiatus that has lasted more than a decade, Canal Fest is set to take over the Las Colinas Urban District, 200 E. Las Colinas Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 19. Billed as a celebratory blend of culture and community, Canal Fest 2013 will feature live music, international cuisine, cultural dancers, rides and attractions. Best of all, admission to this year’s Canal Fest is free to the public.

News of the return of Canal Fest comes the same year in which the city’s Parks and Recreation Department expanded the Irving Main Street Event into a two-day event and hosted several successful Saturday concerts in the Heritage District. Following are highlights of what is in store for Canal Fest attendees.

  • Experience rock-climbing, mechanical bull riding and take a two-story bungee jump at no cost in the Fun Zone; gondola rides and pedal boats are available for a fee
  • Free face painting for kids, henna tattoos for adults and an indoor art gallery featuring local artists will be available in the Arts and Entertainment Zone
  • Jam to the sounds of BlacktopGYPSY (11:30 a.m.), Emerald City Band (2 p.m.) and Steel Magnolia (4:30 p.m.) performing on the Main Stage
  • Meet representatives from ESPN and area football, basketball and baseball teams in the Sports Zone* Various groups will showcase the diversity of the Irving community through dance on the Cultural Arts Stage

Merchants and visitors are not the only ones who will benefit from the return of Canal Fest. Attendees can stop by the Kraddick Foundation tent to support Kidd’s Kids, a program based on the premise of making a difference in the lives of children with special medical needs. The nonprofit is named after David “Kidd” Kraddick, the popular Irving-based radio personality who died in July while attending a charity event in New Orleans. The organization provides chronically ill and/or physically challenged children with an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World.

“The community’s support for the return of Canal Fest to Irving has been amazing. A lot of people have good memories strolling alongside the banks and bridges of the canal back in the 1980s and early 1990s,” City of Irving Community Resources Director Chris Hooper said. “We also are fortunate to have several media partners and sponsors that will allow us to offer many free activities and attractions at Canal Fest, making this a great event for couples, families and friends.”

With the support of top-tier sponsors, Canal Fest will offer attendees plenty of opportunities to experience the best of Irving. Major sponsors for the 2013 Canal Fest include WFAA Channel 8, KISS FM, ESPN Dallas and the Omni Mandalay Hotels. To view a complete list of participating sponsors, media partners, transportation information and to review other event details, visit irvingevents.org.

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