Stop by the Children's Area for all-day activities geared toward our youngest Applebutter Fest visitors. In recent years, we've had jugglers, ventriloquists, puppeteers, costumed storytellers, and clowns, who make balloon animals, paint faces, and apply temporary hair color. Seating is provided (chairs, benches, and/or straw bales).
Here's the schedule for 2017. Scroll to the bottom of the page to learn more about the entertainers.
High-Energy Comedy Juggler & Ventriloquist
10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon
Jeff & Clint, The Royal Jokers
Comedy Magician & Puppeteer
1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Laurie Skowronski and Kim Hohlbein
2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Happy, the Clown
Face Painting, Balloon Animals, Temporary Hair Coloring
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Strolling Magic Pirate
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Portrayed by Kelly Leake
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Joe Lyons has been entertaining children (of all ages!) at the Applebutter Fest for many years. This year, he will be performing his comedy magic at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. in the Children’s Area. He will also be bringing Matt, Jeff and Clint, talented jugglers, with him; they will be on stage at 11:00 a.m. And Ritchie Go, balloon artist, will also be delighting children near the Children’s Area.
Joe was asked to provide a biography, and this is what he came up with: “Joe Lyons was born in Minot, North Dakota, at a very young age. A week after he was born in late August, it snowed. Joe politely asked his parents to get him out of there. Well, as politely as a newborn can at 2:21 in the morning facing hunger pangs and other nose-wrinkling challenges. Before he learned to walk, talk or tie his shoes (folks everywhere still debate the validity of these three claims), Joe was roller skating. Thus, he started his show business career off with a bang (literally; he still has the scar on his forehead and is proud to share it when asked). Studying dance, theater, music (Joe fondly remembers his band teacher accidentally breaking her baton over her head while staring intently at him . . . she was in Iove) and magic hardly left time for anything else. So while all the other kids were out dating and having fun . . . Joe was right there with them.”
Yes, Joe is a very, very funny man. His shows are entertaining and memorable!
Another familiar face at the Applebutter is Mike Hemmelgarn, high-energy ventriloquist, juggler, and comedien. Mike has been fascinated with the art of ventriloquism since the age of eight and juggling since the age of sixteen. He went door to door selling newspaper subscriptions to earn enough money to purchase his first “dummy,” a hardwood puppet named “Bob.” Bob is now in retirement and Mike currently uses mostly sculpted foam and latex puppets. You may meet Butterball, the paranoid turkey; Casey, the ballistic duck; or Spud, a quick-witted puppet who loves to turn volunteers into real live puppets. Hemmelgarn first learned to juggle with tennis balls, but he has evolved to bowling balls, knives, machetes, torches and other ridiculous things. He also incorporates magic and balloon sculpting to complement one of the most unique acts in the business. Mike, his lovely (and very fortunate) wife and their children happily reside in Springboro, Ohio.
Mike will be performing on the Children’s Stage at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. Don’t miss his shows!
Laurie Skowronski and Kim Hohlbein, certified teachers and professional storytellers, will be fascinating children with their costumes and stories. This family-oriented entertainment is engaging and fun. Children are actively involved in their songs, skits, stories and games. The ladies’ goal is to get everyone involved in having fun, not just watching it.
These talented ladies will be telling stories at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Be sure to bring your children and/or grandchildren.
Happy the Clown
Magic happens when Happy the Clown is invited to an event. Happy spends the entire day at the Applebutter, often beginning his interaction with children before the starting time, and he never turns a child away. His face painting is remarkable, and you can see his handiwork on many children’s faces during the day. He also does magic, temporary hair coloring, balloon animals, some magic, and children never leave his tent without some kind of a prize.
Happy’s laugh and kindness are contagious, and children love to visit with him.
Interested in performing for children at the Fest? The Committee previews acts for consideration.
If you are interested in performing with the Children's Area, please complete the Contact Form at the bottom of this page.
Please provide a brief description of your act. Include a schedule of events where you will appear in the coming months so a committee member can attend your performance.
The Children's Area at the Applebutter Fest is sponsored by Wood County Hospital and organized by the Grand Rapids Arts Council.