Zoppe, an Italian Family Circus, is a crowd favorite every year at KidFest! Ridgeland. Nino the Clown stars in this show, which also features acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship and canine capers.
Zoppe, an Italian Family Circus, is a crowd favorite every year at KidFest! Ridgeland. Nino the Clown stars in this show, which also features acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship and canine capers.
RIDGELAND – KidFest! Ridgeland, presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, promises to deliver more fun and flexibility than ever before with new attractions and the return of some crowd favorites for four fun-filled days this year. 

The City of Ridgeland Department of Recreation will host KidFest! Ridgeland for four days over two weekends (April 13-14 and April 19-20). As always KidFest! Ridgeland will feature a variety of shows, interactive activities and lots of other attractions which are all included in the price of admission.

Mayor Gene McGee said that the event is a big draw for the city every year.

“We are excited. Kidfest! is a top rated family-friendly event in the area and usually brings people from out of town,” McGee said. “It offers a lot of great opportunities for a fun family-friendly weekend.”

New attractions this year include “A Grizzly Experience” and “The Magical Poodles.”

A Grizzly Experience is an educational grizzly bear show and exhibit. 

Festival guests will get an in-depth, up-close and personal look into the life of North America’s most prestigious predator, the Alaskan Grizzly Bear. Everyone can watch Yogi, the 7-year-old, 600-pound grizzly bear, and two juvenile bears, Dottie and Lea, delight crowds of all ages with their impressive size and amazing behaviours. Throughout the day, patrons can hang out and watch Yogi and the cubs interact with their handler and talk with him about the amazing bond between grizzly and man. During the daily shows, one of the bears will perform many of their natural behaviors, and their handler will talk about bears of North America, bear safety, how to respond to a bear in the wild and the magic of how bears are trained for the movies.

The Magical Poodles show will provide a fun, educational and entertaining experience highlighting the many talents and tricks of the Magical Poodles. Festival guests will learn how to “trick train” a dog, learn about safety around new dogs and how to care for a pet responsibly.

One of the crowd favorites year-in and year-out is Zoppé, an Italian Family Circus starring Nino the clown. The Zoppé circus is propelled by a central story that features acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship, canine capers, clowning and plenty of audience participation. 

Giovanni Zoppé, the sixth-generation circus performer who plays Nino, says the show aims higher than most circuses these days. 

"We try to touch every emotion during the show," he says. "They'll laugh, they'll cry and they'll feel for our characters. It's more of an event than a show." Don’t miss America’s favorite family circus. 

Hilby, the Skinny German Juggle Boy will make a return appearance this year. 

Best described as a show without boundaries, Hilby is living proof that being German doesn’t mean you can’t be funny. He really gets his audience involved and creates magical and hilarious moments through their participation. Watch out for catapults, marshmallows, lots of Velcro and the bowling-ball of terror. Hilby will only perform the second weekend.

Another crowd favorite returns for both weekends this year is the Backyard Circus. 

Backyard circus is an old-fashioned backyard circus where as many as 30 children from the audience have the opportunity to dress up and be the circus performers. The show includes a lion tamer, strongman, butterfly ballerinas and Wanda, the tightrope walker. During the grand finale, one lucky kid is shot out of a cannon, not a real cannon, but it is a great ending to the “World’s Greatest Backyard Circus.”  

The City of Ridgeland’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held during KidFest! Ridgeland on Friday, April 19 & Saturday, April 20. Check the schedule online at www.kidfestridgeland.com for hunt times and age groups.

Children and adult festival guests will have the opportunity to dress up as frogs, fish, mushrooms or rainbow twirlers and be the featured performers for The Nylon Zoo. Following a trip to The Nylon Zoo, take a ride on the carousel, a train or a carnival ride. 

The Temporary Tattoo booth is always a festival favorite, as children get their faces, arms and legs decorated with festival designs. For boys and girls of all ages, Touch-A-Truck will have the opportunity to be up close and personal with large trucks and equipment provided by the Ridgeland Department of Recreation & Parks.

Gates will open at 9:00 a.m. on April 13, 19 & 20 and at noon on Sunday, April 14. The festival closes at 6:30 p.m. each day. Admission is $12 at the gate, but coupons for $2/guest savings off the regular admission price are available at www.kidfestridgeland.com. All performances, activities and attractions are included in the admission price. For children younger than two, admission is free.

For more information on KidFest! Ridgeland, see www.kidfestridgeland.com or contact the Ridgeland Recreation and Parks Department at 601-853-2011.