Attendees at a previous TeenFest try out standup paddleboards at a booth in the trade show area.

Totally TeenFest

Third annual free celebration/showcase fills Pearkes Rec. with arts, entertainment, educational opportunities and much more

All things teen come to the Pearkes Recreation Centre this weekend as Coast Capital Savings TeenFest celebrates the many local businesses and organizations supporting Victoria-area teens and their families.

The free one-day exhibition, geared toward youth age 12 to 18 and their families, aims to connect teens and tweens with each other, their peers, their communities and community leaders. Visitors will find five different areas to explore – Life & Education, Cool Stuff, Fashion & Beauty, Health & Wellness and Technology & Gaming – along with workshops, entertainment, prize draws and more.

“It’s just a really fun, cool place to come hang out for the day,” says Ali Berman, who co-founded the event with husband Wayne Berman.

“We moved here four years ago from Toronto and it was hard for us to find some of the resources we were looking for,” says Berman, a mother of three. “Why not have a safe environment where they could learn about different activities and schools, about money, budgeting and investing for the future?”

Featuring more than 100 booths, exhibitors range from community organizations like the Quadra Village Community Centre and Scouts Canada to education resources like Vancouver Island University and the Industry Training Authority. Those passionate about beauty and fashion will find displays from Magnetic Nail Design, the Lizbell Agency and others, while outdoor enthusiasts will find exhibitors like ANIÁN Surfboards and Lyrics Skateshop and Studio…not to mention a mobile indoor skate park the size of a basketball court to try the latest tricks.

“We have everything from paddleboarding to archery to pottery – it really runs the gamut,” Berman says.

In fact, TeenFest is as much about doing and experiencing as it is about learning. Additional highlights include a Teen Talent Contest, interactive sports and gaming activities, and a host of teen performers, including 16-year-old Tristan Thomson, a Stelly’s student whose song Tidalwave is getting a lot of play, Nanaimo hip hop artist Sirreal, and Shon Burnett, the 12-year-old top-six finalist from YTV’s The Next Star 7 show.

“We are so lucky to have so many talented youth who want to come perform,” Berman says.

Guests can relax in the White Spot Café, which is donating partial proceeds to the Kids Help Phone, and enter their name for a variety of prizes – including a $500 shopping spree give-away, courtesy of The Bay Centre. The first 500 guests will also receive swag bags.

Interestingly, both teens and parents are in sync about the TeenFest experience, agreeing, “I can’t believe it’s free and I can’t believe all this is out there for us,” Berman says, crediting the community support they have received.

“Truly our sponsors and our exhibitors are just such visionaries and they believe in what they’re trying to do.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Check it out

WHAT:  Coast Capital Savings Victoria TeenFest

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 1, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Pearkes Recreation Centre, 3100 Tillicum Rd.

COST: Free

MORE INFO: Visit teenfest.ca