The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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