FARMINGTON — A popular break from the winter doldrums, the Children’s Festival, kicks off a week of school vacation Saturday.

The 28th annual Children’s Festival, sponsored by the Franklin County Children’s Task Force, takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 19 in Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Last year, 1,400 attended a variety of hands-on activities, including a low cost food court, face painting, balloon animals and entertainment for families and children from prekindergarten to the “tween” ages, Renee Blanchet, executive director, said.

More than 40 individuals and groups plan to provide some type of activity for Saturday. Many are hands-on, Linda Davis, administrative assistant, said.

Bill Reid appears with his banjo at 11 a.m., a magician from Windham, Mr. Magic, and his magic wonders performs at noon and the Mt. Blue Show Choir, under the direction of Jim Perkins, appears at 1 p.m.

State Sen. Thomas Saviello, R-Wilton, will serve as emcee for the event, Davis said.

Jim Parker of Aerie East plans to be there with his raptors and some folks to offer maple taffy samples. Oakie, Oakhurst Dairy’s acorn, and McGruff the crime dog will circulate among festival attendees.

While it takes a village to plan and prepare for Saturday’s event each year, it runs very smoothly, Blanchet said.

Admission is free but this year donations are sought and appreciated. Like everything else, budget cuts have affected the event, she said.

Organizers do seek sponsorship from area businesses and organizations but there’s a lot involved to provide a fun, activity-filled day open to all children in Franklin County.

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