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Monday, April 29 2013 09:46

When Addie met Chica, Carly, and Sportacus from Sprout...

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On Friday night, I took the girls on a special adventure... an adventure that was really for Addie since Finn is only 10 months old. We hopped in the car late that afternoon and went to meet up with my wife at her office. While it was exciting to surprise her as she spotted us in the parking lot, the real surprise was waiting in Elmhurst, Illinois... a Chicago suburb that should be about an hour from Rock Father HQ, but thanks to Friday "rush-hour" took about two to reach. I kept the little one guessing the whole way there... "Where are we going for our special adventure, Daddy?" And then we arrived at the Elmhurst YMCA.

ymcasqThe folks from Sprout sent a crew into Chicago for "Healthy Kids Day." Making stops in Elmhurst (Friday) and Chicago proper (Saturday) were Sportacus from LAZY TOWN, along with Carly and Chica from THE SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW. Chica (also of THE CHICA SHOW) is a big celebrity in our house. Addie has been in love with Chica practically since birth (militant parents that say "kids shouldn't watch TV before age 2" can stay out of my comments section), becoming so enamored with the little chicken that I actually had a custom "prop replica" puppet created for Addie's second Christmas... before any kind of "official" Chica merchandise was made available. Now, even baby Finley is a Chica fan, and we bought her a Chica of her own on a recent visit to the Kohl Children's Museum. I was curious what would happen if Addie could actually meet the real Chica face-to-beak. PURE JOY.

The YMCA Healthy Kids Day event was fantastic as a whole - a FREE community gathering for kids and families. There were sponsor booths with goodies: Buddy Fruits was distributing their tasty pouches; a Home Depot Kids Workshop took place (Addie got to make a really cool herb garden planter); Edible Arrangements was giving out fruit cups; a local dentist was distributing tooth brushes... and that was in just one room. Out front, the Elmhurst Fire Department was showing off one of their trucks and all the kids were loving their "Junior Firefighter" hats. Also, few things are as attractive to children as a bouncy house, and they had one.

ymcaact

But the main event was yet to come...

At 7pm, a good-sized crowd had gathered in the upstairs gymnasium for a performance by the Sprout crew. Formerly Chicago-based actress/performer Carly Ciarrocci (who joined Sprout as a co-host of THE SUNNY SIDE UP SHOW last June) emerged from behind a farm-themed backdrop to get the kids moving as they "woke up" Chica, who had been napping in her nest. I kept my eye on Addie, who had made a little friend and quickly took seats front-and-center, and frighteningly out of my reach should they choose to become a part of the show (it's happened). As soon as Carly started the show, Addie looked over at us with that "Do you see what I'm seeing?!" look of excitement... but when Chica popped up from the nest in her familiar exercise gear, the excitement from the crowd was enormous.

carly chica guitar

Through songs like "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" the kids got warmed up for the arrival of Sportacus - the hero of LAZY TOWN. Until having a brief chat with some Moms in the crowd, I was not aware that Sportacus - more specifically, Magnús Scheving the actor that portrays him (and created the show) - has a big following in the Mom crowd. I really had no idea... but right there were some ladies chatting about him and checking out photos on their smartphones. They were probably pretty shocked when Sportacus arrived... and wasn't being played by Magnús Scheving.

sporacus2

Regardless, the guy did the job well - totally ripped and with all the signature moves. We're not really fans of LAZY TOWN here, but I respect the message they're getting out to the kids.

The live performance was wrapped up in about a half hour, and then the real moment that made the whole day worthwhile took place: Addie got to meet Carly, Chica, and Sportacus. But it was all about Chica. The genuine smile... the look of excitement... you can't buy that.

addie chica sportacus

Perhaps one day we'll get to make a trip to the real SUNNY SIDE UP BARN in Philadelphia (fingers crossed - every day is an adventure!), but for now I'd say that a memory that will last a lifetime has already been achieved...

ROCK.

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James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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