By Riya Chinni
This year, the KidsZone at CarmelFest returns with new rides, ticketing guidelines and a stage with performances geared for young audiences.
The KidsZone will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. July 3 and noon to 9 p.m. July 4 during the two-day event in and surrounding Carmel Civic Square.
William Howard II and Christine Zoccola returnd as KidsZone co-chairs.
“Of the three years we’ve done it, we think this will be our best one,” Zoccola said.
Changes include reduced attraction costs and the ability to use the same set of tickets for any of the attractions in the KidsZone area. Individual tickets are $3 each.
“We’ve been really working with the vendors to try to keep the price down as much as we can,” Zoccola said. “We’re still confirming with the vendors, but it looks like most rides will either be one ticket or two tickets per ride, so we’re hoping it’s going to be a lot more affordable than it has been in past years.”
Howard and Zoccola said they have listened to feedback from Carmel families, which drove their negotiations with vendors to reduce costs for attractions.
According to Howard and Zoccola, KidsZone will feature new attractions, in addition to familiar favorites such as the rock-climbing wall, bungee trampoline and inflatables.
“We’ve got two new rides that we haven’t had in the past. One is called the Ballistic Swing, and it’s basically a big swing that spins the kids around, and the other one is the Pirate’s Revenge, which is like a huge ship that rocks back and forth,” Zoccola said.
Additionally, KidsZone will feature a variety of performances on its own stage behind Carmel City Hall. Zoccola said the performances are tailored to children and will continue throughout both days of the festival.
“We’ve really tried to include DEI, so we’re looking at acts that are across the board,” Howard said. “We’re trying to get a very diverse lineup.”
Howard said the pair conducted a broad reach within the Carmel community for KidsZone performances, which will include Disney Princesses for meet-and-greets in addition to performances by Abundant Youth Empowerment, Academy of Gregory Hancock, Ballet Theatre of Carmel and Master Yoo’s World Class Tae Kwon Do.
Howard and Zoccola said they are excited about the future of KidsZone as it continues to expand.
“It’s truly going to be its own entity now,” Howard said. “You can go to KidsZone to hang out and be in KidsZone for the whole day.”