McDonald's Houston Children’s Festival
The Largest Children's Festival in the United States!
The McDonald's Houston Children’s Festival, presented by Baker Hughes, was recently selected as “one of the world’s 300 unmissable events” by Frommer’s Travel Guides. Celebrating its 25th year in 2013, it is one of Houston’s signature events and has developed into one of the primary fund-raisers for Child Advocates. With a projected annual attendance of over 50,000 people, the festival celebrates over two decades of proven success for sponsors, the community, participants and most importantly, for Child Advocates and the abused and neglected children it serves.
The Festival has consistently provided high-quality educational and fun entertainment in a family friendly atmosphere. Offering several stages, The Festival is divided into themed Family Adventure Zones and delivers over 300 exciting activities. Entertainment over the years has ranged from Bozo the Clown and Ralph the Swimming Pig to Animal Planet super star, Jeff Corwin, to star celebrities from Disney and Nickelodeon’s most popular television shows. With programming carefully aimed at specific age groups and interests, there is adventure and fun for everyone. The Houston Children’s Festival reigns supreme as “Number One for Family Fun!”
The Houston Children’s Festival was born in 1988 and was originally known as the “Children for Children Festival.” Attracting a crowd of less than 5,000 people the first year, the goal was to create a family festival that would serve as the vehicle to educate the public about child abuse and the mission of Child Advocates. For the first few years, the festival was located across from the George R. Brown Convention Center, where Discovery Green Park is now located. When the festival continued to grow and needed a bigger home, it was moved to the Greenway Plaza area and occupied two large, then-vacant lots next to what is now Lakewood Church. After a two year stint at Hermann Park, the festival found its current home in downtown Houston in 1999. It was during this time that Mayor Bob Lanier saw the exceptional value in this event and designated it “The Mayor’s Official Family Celebration.”
5,000 children languish in foster care because of life-threatening abuse and neglect. In Harris County alone, there were 35,729 reported cases of child abuse in Harris County in 2013 and 6, 535 cofirmed cases of child abuse. Child Advocates recruits, trains and supports volunteers assigned by a family court judge to the cases of these children. Child Advocates’ volunteers contact caseworkers, interview parents, ensure necessary medical care, look out for educational interests and make recommendations in court regarding the permanent placement of the child. Most importantly, they serve as a "constant" person for that child to count on during a very tumultuous time. Child Advocates has served over 17,000 children since it began in 1984. In 2013 Child Advocates provided advocacy for 2,018 abused and neglected children in Harris County and trained 219 new child appointed advocates. And in 2013, 750 Child Advocates volunteers collectively gave over 65,000 hours of their time working on 1,116 cases. The Houston Children’s Festival has become a cornerstone event for Child Advocates and to date has raised over $4.7 dollars to assist Child Advocates in this critical mission.