Babychella: Free Family Fun Time

The afternoon-long lark will feature stories, crafts, and "an interactive bubble village."

An affection for the arts begins very early on, even before we learn to clap our hands to a song's beat or pick out particular colors in the crayon box.

And while that lifelong affection will be on full, desert-dazzling display in a few weeks, at least among those adults attending the Coachella Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festival, there are whimsical ways, closer to the cities, for families to grow a commitment to loving tunes, supporting imagination, and enjoying the sunshine that's a staple of the desert festivals.

It's Babychella Family Art & Music Festival we speak of here, an afternoon-long gathering set to unfurl at William R. Mason Regional Park in Irvine on Sunday, March 12.

Of course, you won't probably say the longer title, but simply "Babychella," as is tradition with those events that have a "-chella" in their name.

And you probably won't need much cash, because the kid-cute happening is totally free, though food trucks'll be at the ready to keep tummies full and the energy of attendees on the vibrant side.

Babychella, it should be noted, is not affiliated with the Coachella Music and Arts Festival; it is presented by OC Parks, with a producer in Hampton Productions.

And, as the date clearly suggests, this is a one-day thing. Actually, a four-hour thing, and not a weekend-long, or two-weekend-long, extravaganza. Noon to 4 p.m. on March 12 are the easy-to-manage hours.

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A staple of the festival scene is the tent, of course, and Babychella will honor this tradition. Look for a host of cute kidly activities in the tents, and outside of them, too, from story time to "an interactive bubble village."

Which, to be honest, sound like two terrific things that could also easily show up at the grown-ups' desert festivals, too.

Photo booths (there are themes), yoga made for the whole fam, and areas to make cool crafty things will also dot the park.

As for parking? That's free, too, in addition to the no-admission-required deal.

As for encouraging an affection for the arts early on? Learning to clap along to a sprightly tune or wield a crayon is downright delightful, as is a life spent loving those works that inspire us and make us think, feel, and be happy.

A nearly-springtime celebration of this notion, and all for free, too, is a nice thing, indeed.

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