Valley children can now win a week’s vacation for their families at Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort and Isla Grand Beach Resort through the RGV Children’s Arts Festival. This is the seventh year that the arts festival has offered kids the largest prizes in the Valley. This is the first year to offer vacations at South Padre Island.

“The dude ranch vacations kids have won for their families have been fantastic, but it’s a long way to travel from the Valley to Colorado and Idaho,” said festival co-chair Carey Kinsolving. “The SPI vacations will make it more convenient for the winning families.”

The Schlitterbahn winner will have access to its amazing 25-acre waterpark. One arts festival winner and family can slip and slide in an indoor or outdoor waterpark for an entire week. The Isla Grand winner will have access to the resort’s fantastic restaurants with $100 a day to spend. The Windjammer Café at Isla Grand is famous for its Saturday and Sunday breakfast buffets.

Although only two children and their families will enjoy SPI vacations, many kids might see their writing and artwork published in Kinsolving’s syndicated newspaper column, “Kids Talk About God,” and his online book, “Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John.” Both may be viewed at KidsTalkAboutGod.org.

In July, arts festival winner Leah Leal, 8, of Brownsville rode horses in the mountains of Colorado at Cherokee Park Ranch in Livermore, Colorado. Sophia Villarreal, 10, of Harlingen rode horses with her mom and dad at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho. USA Today readers voted these ranches as the top two dude ranches in the country.

Because of arts festival sponsors, there is no entry fee. Gold Sand sponsors for this year’s arts festival include La Copa Inn South Padre Island, Boggus Ford, DLC Pediatrics- Dr. Martin Garza, Lone Star National Bank and Melba’s Dance School.

As usual, this year’s winners fell in love with their horses: “I wanted to take my horse home, but my mom said we had nowhere to put her,” said Leal. “We rode up the mountain and sang songs. Even my dad sang. It was funny. I even spent the night in a real teepee. My brother was too scared to stay.”

Entries and guidelines for this year’s online arts festival can be found at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/rgv. Children ages 5-12 who live or attend school in the Rio Grande Valley may enter. The Entries and guidelines for this year’s online arts festival can be found at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/rgv.