March 24, 2023
School Days are May 30-June 2; Family Weekend to be held June 3-4
The GuGu Drummers of China.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (April 19, 2017) — The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the 17th year of the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival in 2017! The world-class family event – one of the largest festivals of its kind in the country – takes place May 30-June 4. Talented artists from around the world descend upon the Ordway stages to perform works grounded in cultural traditions, awe-inspiring wonder and flights of pure fantasy.

Family Weekend (June 3-4) indoor performances are now on sale for Gugu Drum GroupNative Pride Dancers presents Ketti Nimiko!The Flying Foot Forum’s The Mystery of the Pig’s Eye Manor and The Way Back Home by Denmark’s Theater Refleksion. The Way Back Home features a new sensory-friendly Family Weekend performance on Sunday, June 4 at 12 p.m.
Advance tickets are $8 each and can be purchased online at, by phone at 651-224-4222 or in person at the Ordway ticket office. This year, a new “Pay What You Can” ticket program for indoor shows will be available the day of the performance on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to availability. Those who purchase $8 tickets in advance are guaranteed admission.
School Days open the Festival on May 30 when more than 20,0000 students from all over Minnesota and western Wisconsin come to participate by attending the international performances, participating in interactive activities and engaging in artist-led workshops throughout the week.
A rollicking outdoor performance spectacle by multi-award-winning Australian company, Born in a Taxi makes its debut at the 2017 Festival. Highly interactive, full of riotous slapstick and extremely playful, The Whale’s Tale is an exuberant, crowd-pleasing journey to be performed several times throughout Family Weekend.
Between performances, Family Weekend Festival-goers can enjoy free entertainment and art-making activities in the surrounding parks, including the Ordway, Rice Park, Spire Credit Union Fun Zone and Xcel Energy Family Plaza:
  • More than 100 free outdoor performances by almost 600 local artists and groups representing cultural traditions from around the world. Performances will take place on the Flint Hills World Music Stage and the Xcel Energy World Dance Stage.
  • Folktales from across the globe as told by Twin Cities storytellers in the Story Time Corner, which is inside the Ordway building this year.
  • Also as part of the Story Time Corner, a musical instrument petting zoo with Congolese musician, Siama, and, new this year, Kid’s Yoga by 1,000 Petals Yoga Studio.
  • The Clear Channel Outdoor ARTwalk, a walking tour through downtown St. Paul highlighting hundreds of pieces of art created by young people.
  • Art-making activities from 21 different arts, cultural and educational organizations from around the Twin Cities.
  • Located inside the Ordway, “The Touch of Sound,” an interactive audio installation featuring the sounds of the Galapagos Islands.
  • An art exhibition, “Gathering of Contemporary Indigenous Artists,” curated by Gordon Coons (Ojibwa/Ottawa), will be in the Ordway lobbies.
  • A lunch time dance party with local DJ’s spinning tunes in the Ordway lobby.
  • Dozens of family-friendly activities such as face painting, balloon artists, henna tattoos, juggling, dance lessons and more.
“We are delighted to be celebrating the 17th year of the Festival, and to again be welcoming children and families to downtown St. Paul to experience art from all over the globe! We’re grateful to Flint Hills Resources for its support of the Festival from the very beginning,” said Dayna Martinez, artistic director of world music, dance and international children’s festival programming at the Ordway.
“The Festival is the one time of year when, for six whole days, we focus on children as the center of the arts experience at the Ordway,” said Shelley Quiala, the Ordway’s vice president of Arts Education and Community Engagement. “Months of planning, weeks of travel and days packed with experiences create thousands of unforgettable magical moments for young people and their grown-ups. We couldn’t make the Festival come alive without their boundless imaginations and spirits and we couldn’t make anything happen without the support of our funders and particularly the leadership of Flint Hills Resources. We are so grateful for the consistent commitment and support of this important partnership.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Ordway for the 17th consecutive year to present this one-of-a-kind family event,” said Geoff Glasrud, vice president and manufacturing manager at the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount. “The Festival allows children of all ages to enjoy fun, interactive activities and experience performances from some of the top international artists at little-to-no cost. We can’t wait for families to see what this year’s Festival has to offer.”
Nearly 70,000 people are expected to attend the 2017 Festival, including more than 20,000 students and teachers from schools across Minnesota and western Wisconsin who will attend international performances, participate in hands-on activities and engage in artist workshops throughout the week during School Days (May 30-June 2). More than 770,000 people have attended the Festival since its inception in 2001. For a complete listing of events or to purchase indoor performance tickets, visit
School Days: May 30-June 2
Family Weekend: June 3-4
The Clear Channel Outdoor ARTwalk runs May 6-June 4.
Indoor performances: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Lower Level of Landmark Center, Lab Theater in the Lowry Building
Free outdoor performances and activities: Rice Park, Xcel Energy Family Plaza, Spire Credit Union Fun Zone
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
345 Washington Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Ticket Office: 651-224-4222
All tickets for the Festival Family Weekend are $8 in advance, or “Pay What You Can” the day of the performance.
GuGu Drum Group
Drummers, storytellers and athletes from Shanghai, China, engage audiences with their high-energy theatrical drum drama, featuring drum vignettes accompanied by projections based on timeless Chinese proverbs, fables and fairy tales.
Ordway Music Theater
Saturday, June 3 at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Sunday, June 4 at 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Native Pride presents Ketti Nimiko!
Members of Native Pride Dancers and special guests take the stage to present a wide variety of traditional Native dances, inspiring the audience to bridge cultural gaps through Indigenous traditions.
Ordway Concert Hall
Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. & 12 p.m.
Sunday, June 4 at 12 p.m.
The Mystery of Pig’s Eye Manor
Flying Foot Forum
Audience members embark on an interactive percussive dance, music and theater adventure as they follow three sleuths through the corridors, hallways, staircases and rooms of the lower level of the Landmark Center to collect clues and help solve a mystery.
Lower Level of Landmark Center
Saturday, June 3 at 10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 4 at 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
The Way Back Home
Teater Refleksion 
When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: he flies into outer space. The Way Back Home uses puppets to tell a simple yet profound tale about friendship and conquering the fear of the unknown.
Lab Theater in the Lowry Building
Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 4 at 12 p.m. (sensory friendly) & 2 p.m.
Whale’s Tale
Born in a Taxi, Australia
Festival-goers can immerse themselves in The Whale’s Tale – watching from “the shore” or interacting in an “underwater” playground. Full of surprises and fun, this highly imaginative outdoor performance is a crowd-pleasing spectacle.
Xcel Energy Family Plaza
June 3 at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.
June 4 at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.
For a complete schedule of all Family Weekend free outdoor events, visit
The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul’s most elegant and inviting performance space. The Ordway’s Music Theater and Concert Hall attract diverse audiences with an array of productions showcasing the finest in American musical theater, world music, dance and vocal performance. Education and community engagement are integral to the Ordway’s mission, with major initiatives including the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival and Ordway Education programs that serve more than 50,000 students annually. Together with Minnesota Opera, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and The Schubert Club, the Ordway is a member of the Arts Partnership and serves as the principal venue for their performances. For more information, visit
Flint Hills Resources, LLC, through its subsidiaries, is a leading refining, chemicals and biofuels company, with operations primarily in Texas and the Midwest. Its manufacturing capability is built upon six decades of refining experience, and the company has expanded its operations through capital projects and acquisitions worth more than $13 billion since 2002. The company is based in Wichita, Kansas, and its more than 5,000 employees strive to create value for customers and society.
The Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery produces transportation fuels used throughout the Midwest, including most of Minnesota’s gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, as well as other products people rely on such as propane and asphalt. Located 17 miles southeast of Minneapolis, Pine Bend has a capacity of 339,000 barrels per day and is among the cleanest, most efficient and safest oil refineries in the country. Flint Hills Resources directly and indirectly supports more than 4,000 Minnesota jobs and has invested nearly $1.7 billion on upgrades and improvements to its Minnesota facilities since 2010. With 1,300 full-time employees, the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery is one of the largest employers in Dakota County. More information about the company is available at

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