In 2004 a group of folklore enthusiasts, lead by Mr. Nikola Tuškan, today’s organizer of the Zagreb Children International Folk Festival, embarked on the organization of the 1st Children’s Folklore Meeting –Zagreb 2004. After performing at the Vinkovci Autumn Festival with the children’s section of Preslica Folklore Group, it became apparent that a similar cultural event is needed in Zagreb. The 1st Children’s Folklore Meeting was organized in only two months and took place on November 13, 2004. The venue of the event was the
Great Hall of Novi Zagreb’s Cultural Center. We received support from the Zagreb City Administration that sponsored the Meeting and from the Zagreb Tourist Board, which was at that time managed by Mr. Vladimir Velnić, vice president of the City Assembly.
Eight Croatian children folklore groups participated in the 1st Meeting, as well as the young group of the Czech Cultural Organization in Zagreb and a group of Croatians from Vojvodina. The Meetings attracted a lot of interest, not only in Zagreb, but also in the surrounding area, which immediately prompted inquiries on the organization of next year’s event. Representatives from the city administration and professionals from the field of folklore agreed that such an event is needed and that it should be transformed into a traditional gathering of young folklore enthusiasts.
By the second edition, the event was renamed into Children’s International Folklore Meeting that took place from July 1 to July 3, 2005. The Meeting gathered seven children’s folklore groups from Croatia, and six from other countries. After numerous performances in various venues around Zagreb, the final concert held by all groups took place in the Croatian National Theatre.
In 2006, the Third Children’s International Folklore Meeting became a part of Croatian division of CIOFF (International Council of Organizations for Folklore Festivals and Folk Art), and the event was put on CIOFF's calendar of international folklore festivals. The third edition of the Meeting took place over three days, with nine Croatian and three foreign groups.
An arrangement was made with the City Office for Health, Labor, Social Security and Veterans to add a humanitarian component to the Meeting. Young performers visit children hospitals, orphanages, institutions for persons with special needs, and retirement homes and through their performance that day they participate
in “Sharing the Joy…” Apart from humanitarian significance, the event is also important in terms of culture and tourism of Zagreb, as well as for Croatia’s promotion in Europe and the rest of the world.
By adhering to CIOFF's rules of organization, the Meeting became the only children's folklore festival in Croatia to meet all of CIOFF's requirements and was renamed into Children International Folk Festival – the festival lasts five days, invites at least five foreign groups and its program includes at least five side events. At
the time of the Festival, an open stage in Zagreb’s city center hosts a show with more than 15 folklore groups performing every day. More than 500 young folklorists from around Croatia and Europe join the parade around the city center. The Festival’s final concert is held in City’s prominent venues.
Apart from traditional sponsorship by the City of Zagreb, in 2006 the President of Croatia and Croatian Ministry of Culture also became the event's patrons. The project is financed by the City of Zagreb, Zagreb Tourist Board, Croatian Ministry of Culture, while many other sponsors help realize the additional activities that
contribute to the Festival’s attractiveness.