Kiama festival has fun of the circus

Kids need not run away from home to join the circus - for the next week, they can just run to Kiama instead.

The Kiama International Seaside Arts Festival - or KISS - has popped up for the third year in the surrounds of Hindmarsh Park, hosting a clutch of trapeze artists, clowns, vaudevillians and cabaret acts from as far as Israel, Switzerland and Hungary.

"My wife and I looked at what happens here, the Kiama Show and carols and the dance festival, and we thought it could do with some spicing up," said festival organiser and Kiama resident Dave Evans.

Fun activities for kids in the Illawarra

Both he and his wife are travelling circus performers, and the couple wanted to share their passion and skill with the local community.

"We tour Europe for three to five months of the year, doing European festivals. We love physical circus performances, and we decided there wasn't anything like it in Kiama and there should be," he said.

The festival kicked off on Monday with a series of workshops that continue until January 15. Kids can learn all the tricks of the circus trade, from juggling to unicycle and trapeze.

"Kiama is full of fantastic things for people to do, but circus workshops engage a different part of your brain," Mr Evans said.

"It's about hand-eye co-ordination, teamwork, exercise, strength and cardio."

The festival will build through this week to its main events this weekend.

Outdoor cabaret shows at the Blue Diamond and Jamberoo Pub, and street performers in Hindmarsh Park, will entertain crowds, but it is a small tent in the park that Mr Evans is most excited about.

A so-called pop-up arts centre, the "La Petite Grande" tent will host an eclectic range of free workshops and events including yoga, beat poetry, graffiti, hand puppet-making and wine tastings.

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