An Intriguing Children’s Folklore Festival Certified by UNESCO

The Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival (宜蘭國際童玩藝術節) has been the flagship summer event in Taiwan since 1996. (Image: Julia Fu/ Vision Times)
The Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival (宜蘭國際童玩藝術節) has been the flagship summer event in Taiwan since 1996. (Image: Julia Fu/ Vision Times)

As a culture and arts festival certified by UNESCO’s International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (CIOFF), the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival (YICFFF宜蘭國際童玩藝術節) has been the flagship summer event in Taiwan since 1996. The 22nd YICFFF is being held from July 1 through August 13, 2017, for a duration of 44 days, at Dongshan River Water Park in Yilan County in northern Taiwan.

Watch the following videos of the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival:

With the theme “Adventure through Space and Time,” the annual festival is designed to provide children with a happy event to share with parents and friends, as well as befriend cultures from around the world.

The main visual design of the Festival this year is in the form of a “puzzle” that is composed of four distinct puzzle pieces symbolizing the four major activities of the festival — namely, exhibition, performance, games, and exchange.

The overview of the water playgrounds at the Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival 2017 (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A bird’s-eye view of the water playgrounds at the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

In terms of the exhibition aspect, the “Treasure Hunt (尋寶玩憶)” and the “Children’s Adventure Land (童玩競技場)” allow visitors of all ages to reminisce about children’s games by playing a breaking-through-the-barricade game. The “Fun Castle for Kids (玩童城堡)” is an exclusive recreational playground for preschool children to learn through interactive games with their parents.

The Water Pyramid at Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

The Water Pyramid at the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

In the brand new “Global Pow Wow Exhibit Hall (穿越時空友誼館),” there are various mementos given by other national teams over the past two decades, allowing visitors to get an insight into the interactions and friendship between YICFFF and performing troupes from other countries.

Outside the Exhibition Hall, there is a passage with stunning 3-D street art, which is a popular spot for photography and Facebook’s check-in.

The Water Park of the Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival 2017 (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The Water Park of the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival 2017. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

Throughout the festival, there are a variety of performances of folk dancing, singing, music, and other programs that allow visitors to learn about the different cultures of various countries.

Over a dozen domestic performing groups and 26 foreign troupes from 20 countries have been invited to perform in the Festival this year, including from the U.S., Australia, El Salvador, Russia, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Philippines, Saipan, etc.

The water playground at YICFFF provides children a refreshing way to cool off on a hot summer day. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

The water playground at YICFFF provides children a refreshing way to cool off on a hot summer day. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

In particular, the “Big Top Entertainment,” a professional entertainment group from Australia, has been arranged to perform daily during the festival to enhance the artistic atmosphere of the event.

Kids are enjoying in the exciting water park at the Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

Kids are enjoying the exciting water park at the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The performance of "Adis" Vocal-choreographic Ensemble from Kyrgyz Republic (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The performance of ‘Adis’ Vocal-Choreographic Ensemble from the Kyrgyz Republic. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The most striking part of the Folklore and Folkgame Festival is the water games, which cater for kids of all ages. This year, there are even more interactive designs, such as the “Water Pyramid (時光漫步),” the “Water Maze (水迷宮),” the “Rainy Tunnel (穿越水世界),” the “Water War (水戰場),” “The Mirror (輕功水上飄),” etc. in the water park to let visitors cool off and have fun during the hot summer weather.

At the land park, an exclusive “Little Tarzan (小泰山)” area was created for kids to explore the mountainous forests and test their wits.

Some of the domestic and foreign performing groups participate in the opening ceremony of the 22nd YICFFF. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

Some of the domestic and foreign performing groups that participated in the opening ceremony of the 22nd YICFFF. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

Another highlight of the Park is the “Frozen Time Tower (時光積),” which is a 46-ft-high (14-meter) structure with intriguing and informative interactive equipment for 6-year-olds or above to have a fun adventure with their parents.

On the picturesque bank of the Dongshan River, a wheeled dragon boat with specially designed paddles is available for visitors to experience the fun of rowing on land. In the meantime, three real dragon boats are docked at the makeshift wharf along the river bank for visitors to enjoy the excitement of the dragon boat races.

A corner at the Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival 2017 (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

A corner at the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival 2017. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

One of YICFFF’s objectives is to promote cross-border cultural exchange to enhance mutual understanding and foster international friendship. To these ends, goodwill ambassadors and a goodwill reception area will show the kindness and passion of the people of Yilan to visitors.

The “Frozen Time Tower" (時光積) at the Dongshan River Water Park (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

The ‘Frozen Time Tower’ (時光積) at the Dongshan River Water Park. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

Additionally, the “Township Day” program is conducted to facilitate two-way communication during the festival. Local performing troupes from various townships in Yilan are invited to perform distinct cultural performances at the Red Brick Square in the park every Saturday and Sunday.

These townships also set up pavilions in the park to promote their local delicacies. On the other hand, foreign performing groups are arranged to visit various townships to promote cultural exchanges.

A wheeled dragon boat with specially-designed paddles for visitors to experience the fun of rowing on land. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times

A wheeled dragon boat with specially-designed paddles for visitors to experience the fun of rowing on land. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times

Around 9 million people have visited the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival since its inception. This annual event not only has provided kids with a fun way to beat the summer heat, but it has also significantly enhanced cultural exchanges and boosted the friendship between the Taiwanese people and people from around the world.

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