Downtown Langley Business Association brings the 24th annual Arts Alive to the City this Saturday, complete with the always popular kids fun zone. It will feature faves, plus a new, third show stage with live entertainment all day. (Langley Advance files)

Clown brings artistry to balloon work at Langley festival

Chalk art, facepainting and balloon twisting, are returning faves.

By Bob Groeneveld

Special to the Langley Advance

When Scruffles the Clown hoists his sails for the children’s fun zone at Arts Alive this year, he’ll be wearing is finest pirate regalia.

Scruffles has become an enduring favourite among children and adults alike over the years at the annual Langley City festival of entertaining artistry.

And he’s not just clowning around, he brings an unprecedented level of artistry to his balloon twisting techniques, sculpting an array of animals and characters and shapes to the delight of spectators of all ages.

Although Scruffles comes prepared to roam the street with his fun and entertaining balloon work, he doesn’t usually get far before he is mobbed by eager spectators.

“He’s just lined up all day,” said Arts Alive co-organizer Sherryl Parsons of Rare Affairs Meeting & Event Planning Services.

“He doesn’t just do balloons, he does creations,” added co-organizer Teri James, recalling last year a large number of palm trees, monkeys, and Spiderman.

“Whatever people request, he can create it,” James said.

Parsons explained that Scruffles is coming to Arts Alive as a pirate this weekend, a fitting adjunct to the pirate ship bouncy castle that will be part of this year’s fun zone. The kid’s area is being set up, once again, in the old CIBC parking lot, near the beginning of the one-way.

Facepainting and chalk art a draw

Opus Chalk Art Gallery will be back, too, giving kids an opportunity to express their creativity with coloured chalk on a canvas as big as the roadway beneath their feet.

The chance to scribble, draw, or transform their own piece of pavement has always been a big draw for artistically inclined children at the festival.

Facepainting is always popular among the children who join the thousands of spectators and participants at Arts Alive each year.

This year kids will once again come face to face with some of their favourite cartoon characters – in fact those characters can be recreated right on their faces.

Or they may prefer a cheeky creature – or to be transformed into a favourite pet! Or a favourite monster?

Almost anything becomes possible through Face Painting by Jenn, who will be back this year to please the kids with her deft brush strokes.

Jenn started to paint faces when she couldn’t find someone to hire for her own child’s birthday party.

She explains at her website,, that friends started asking her to help out at their kids’ parties.

As her experience grew, continually improving her craft with each new face under her brush, so did her business.

And now she has become one of the most popular attractions at Arts Alive, delighting children with her artistry in the Children’s Fun Zone for several years.

The delight that Jenn’s art evokes goes beyond just the kids, as parents ooh and ahh in the background while she “works.”

“Remember, you are never too old for facepaint!” Jenn points out.

Third stage added – in kid’s area

Also new this year is the addition of a stage to the children’s fun zone, James said, giving them a chance to spotlight a few specific kids’ entertainer throughout the day.

This section is “packed to completely full,” James said, now that they’ve added the stage to all the other entertainment, including a bouncy castle pirate ship, and an old-fashioned art project by the Langley Centennial Museum.

Water handed out on site

This year’s sponsor for the children’s venue will also be taking an active part in the day’s activities.

Don Tebutt of Royal LePage Realty will be handing out water at the children’s fun zone entrance, to help ensure that everyone remains safely hydrated while enjoying the art and entertainment throughout the 24th annual Arts Alive Festival in downtown Langley City.


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