The reminiscences of getting ready for summer time festivals in my youth are hazy, however emptying the dishwasher or placing my toddler down for a pre-party nap wasn’t amongst them.
As a mom of a one-year-old, my first intuition when listening to TOTFest, a pageant for toddlers, was “our daughter would love that”, adopted by “that sounds just like the tenth circle of hell, doused in glitter”.
My husband, daughter and I attended the primary of 4 TOTFests hosted throughout the nation this summer time. We went to Wetherby Racecourse on a baking Sunday in Might. I wasn’t going to make Primavera, so I made a decision to love to decorate up: I wore a rainbow-sequined fanny pack over my comfiest all-in-one.
Hitting the crawling site visitors simply because the racetrack turned seen within the distance, the visions of consuming our total stash of Dairylea Dunkers after which a household bout of diarrhea pale in simply 20 minutes as we reached the entry level.
Parking and going by means of the bag and checking tickets was fast. As soon as inside it was busy, however not hectic.
This set the tone for the entire day as we took our daughter to the bouncy castles and slides, to the merry-go-round after which to a meet-and-greet tent the place she screamed like she was entrance row to a Harry Types efficiency, besides that the idol was Bluey.
I received speaking to Jack Whitaker, 32, from Blackpool, who was in attendance with associate Chelsie and year-old daughter, Ivy Rose.
“It was price each penny and extra — it was the whole lot Ivy Rose loves most, multi function huge open area,” he stated.
My husband and I led our avid fan onto the Peekaboo stage, the place Molly Youngsters TV gave a lavish efficiency, then for a stay efficiency of Journey Infants’ “We’re Happening a Bear Hunt.”
TOTFest was created by two mates, Kerrie Goude and Maddy Griffiths, whereas they have been each on maternity depart. The duo began occasions in neighborhood facilities and launched their first TOTFest in Hertfordshire in 2018.
In 2021 and final yr, they hosted festivals in three places, earlier than creating 4 this summer time. The Yorkshire occasion was attended by practically 5,000 folks, with additional dates in Hertfordshire, Windsor and the Midlands.
TOTFest is a part of a rising toddler pageant pattern. Leisure can vary from storage music (Suave Dodger, for instance, is a daily at Raver Tots) to arts and crafts (at Starry Skies).
“Certainly one of our priorities is minimizing queues so children can roam freely and do no matter they need with no break,” Kerrie stated of TOTfest.
With each 20 steps, we discovered one thing new: a mushy play space, sensory trays, and tower constructing. Area hoppers appeared as bubbles whizzed overhead, and oldsters referred to as their offspring’s title again and again. The longest line was in entrance of the bar.
We took a break for our packed lunch (you may deliver your individual meals). Half an hour later we have been prepared for one final loop; our daughter was solely mildly impressed by the princesses, although she went wild for a second high-five from Bluey.
Kerry Morton, 41, from Wakefield was additionally on the pageant, with daughter Ava, three. Kerry had first seen TOTFest on social media and received tickets by means of an Instagram contest.
“We discovered it nicely organized and unfold out. Regardless of being a bought out occasion, there was quite a lot of open area so it did not really feel overcrowded,” she stated.
“Ava is loopy about princesses proper now, so she beloved watching their present and assembly them afterwards, however she additionally beloved the liberty to decide on what she wished to do as a result of the whole lot was accessible to her.
“The one draw back is that it is perhaps a bit too brief to understand the whole lot on supply. We might simply have spent one other hour or two there.”
TOTFests run from midday to five p.m., so you will get rigged up and down. Kerrie stated a five-hour runtime is vital to holding their prices down; tickets value £20.25 this yr for adults and youngsters aged one to 5, together with reserving charges. Every part on web site, besides meals and drinks, is included within the ticket worth.
Different youngsters’s festivals succumbed to the strain of rising prices: main participant Geronimo, for instance, has been postponed to 2024.
“We have needed to take care of rising prices ourselves, particularly with infrastructure just like the staging, marquees and limitations,” Kerrie stated.
“However as organizers we do not wish to move these prices on to households and as girls from the North we delight ourselves on being cheap and providing worth for cash.
“We suspect that too [making the days any] any longer might be detrimental to everybody’s enjoyment given toddlers’ restricted stamina and the way stimulating the whole lot is.
My household and I finish the day as many do, on the Rainbow Parade.
It’s a spectacle that mixes the whole lot from the day into one finale, in case guests really feel they’ve missed one thing.
“The youngsters are so engrossed within the magic of it,” Kerrie stated.
With an enormous smile, our daughter stumbled again to the automobile. We additionally had smiles on our faces, drained however surprisingly not exhausted. That evening, our daughter fell asleep instantly—most likely dreaming of Bluey.
TOTFest tickets to the Midlands And Berkshire are nonetheless obtainable.
Three different toddler-friendly festivals
RaverTots run one-day festivals throughout southern England and Wales from Might to September and are billed as a household rave, appropriate for all ages. You may count on performances starting from Peppa Pig to Suave Dodger, plus rides, bouncers, exhibits and video games appropriate for toddlers, ravertots.co.uk.
Placing the other tone of RaverTots, this four-day Herefordshire pageant is all about connecting with the pure world and spending high quality time with youngsters by means of “ceremony, artwork, craft, efficiency and play”, starry-skies.web.
Simply so pageant
This weekend pageant in Cheshire takes place in mid-August. Households can camp or glamp, and nurturing youngsters’s outside imaginations is on the coronary heart of the various actions and occasions on supply, justsofestival.org.uk.