Kids flock to Elmo

Over 300 wait in line for premiere of Sesame St. show at St. Charles Planetarium

Over 300 kids waited in line for hours at the planetarium this summer for their chance to meet Elmo.

The “Sesame Street” character was scheduled to show up for an hour to meet children before they went in the planetarium to see the premiere of “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure.”

He ended up staying over twice as long as planned while five additional show times were added to accommodate the large number of people who showed up.

“When we had a line waiting at 9 a.m. and the first show was not supposed to start until 9:30, we decided we would do as many shows as we could,” said Julie Cancienne, West Regional Library branch manager. “Elmo was a trooper.”

Sydney Dufrene, who works with the library’s children’s program, said that the Elmo premiere is the most successful kids’ event she has ever seen at the library.

“When the planetarium director said ‘Elmo’ I said ‘Do you know how big this is going to be?'” Dufrene said, laughing. “I knew it was going to be a big deal.”

In the show, kids travel with Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from the Chinese co-production of “Sesame Street.” Together, they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. Hu Hu Zhu also teaches Elmo how to say simple words such as “star” and “moon” in Chinese.

The show is aimed at forging cross-cultural connections.

“Sesame Street brings children images of the world beyond their own and now (this show) will take that one step further, bridging kids across nations through a common bond in learning about the sky together,” said Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, the company that created “Sesame Street.”

The premiere event at the St. Charles Parish library was a combination planetarium show and book reading with other stations set up for kids to do arts and crafts.

Infants all the way up to 10-year-olds joined in the fun, Cancienne said.

“There was a craft station where kids could make Elmo masks, a story time station, a face painting station…it was all themed around Sesame Street,” Cancienne said.

Kids still have the chance to see the popular planetarium show. It will play every Saturday at 10 a.m. through the end of September. The show is free to all parishioners.


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