Friday, September 6, 2013

Sesame Street Live, Take Two

In May, we took a trip with Lucy to Chicago - our main reason was to see the Sesame Street Live performance.  You can read all about how that went here.  Needless to say, not the bright spot we were hoping that seeing Sesame Street characters would be for her.

I found out that Sesame Street Live was going to be headed to La Crosse in August, with their brand-new show.  I wanted Lucy's experience with it to be so much more than what it had been, so I contacted the La Crosse Center, to see if they were wheelchair accessible, and if we could be seated in an area where Lucy would be able to see the stage.

I received a very nice reply back from Art Fahey, saying that they could accommodate her, and then corresponded with Nikki Kimpton, setting up ticket purchasing and arrangements.  We wanted Lucy to actually get to meet some of the characters this time, so we got the Sunny Seats package, and started to plan our little trip.

I was feeling a bit nervous; the trip to La Crosse was going to be a longer drive than the one to Chicago, but with a much less harried pace.  We were planning no other activities, and told no one about our trip beforehand.  We wanted it to be laid back and casual, and didn't want to tax Lucy too much.  Of course, then we discovered that the days we were meant to go, it was supposed to be insanely humid, with the heat index climbing to over 100 degrees.  We decided to book an extra night, and drive Lucy in the night before, to avoid the ridiculous temperatures.  Our van's AC isn't exactly frigid, and Lucy does not do well in the heat.  At all.

We made the drive uneventfully and settled in for the night.  The next day we took it easy in the hotel, and went out for a little dinner and ice cream.

Hmm, what flavor?

Went with chocolate peanut butter.  Good choice.

Then we headed back to get ready for the show at La Crosse Center, which was next door to our hotel.

Getting ready means nap, right?  I wish, Lucy... I wish.

The truck was parked right outside the venue, so we had to get some shots.

It was a surprise trip, so this was the big reveal :)

We're going to Sesame Street!

Had to get pictures with them all!

We got there a little early - the lobby was empty except for one other mother and her little boy, so we stood with them, in the designated "Sunny Seats" spot.  The boy was fascinated with Lucy :)  Suddenly, from behind us, someone asked "Is this Lucy?"  We turned around, and a man who worked at the Center was walking toward us.  He introduced himself as Rich, and said he would be taking care of everything for us that evening.  It was red carpet treatment for Lucy after that!  She was first through the door into the meet and greet room - 

Hi guys!

It's just not as fun when you're not looking at them.

... and first in line to meet Elmo and Ernie (Ernie is her current second favorite, so that was great!)

We let Ernie know that he ranked near the top, so he came over to express his gratitude.

This was his reaction when we told him he was one of Lucy's favorites.
These guys are in character and fully invested the whole time, it's great!

Admiring Lucy's bow.  She had a whole special outfit... but it was packed into a 
suitcase which Noah neglected to bring.  Poor guy took a lot of heat for that.  I'm
working on not sweating the small stuff ;)

Saying goodbye until later!

Rosita was also wandering around the meet and greet, presumably to keep the wee ones from ganging up and just rushing the wait line.

Lucy did some coloring, too!

She was very happy, and I think a bit star-struck, as we made our way into the theater.

We were escorted by Rich, who led us down to the front row, then rearranged chairs and took out chairs that they had killed to make sure that we had enough room for Lucy's stroller in the row.  After some shuffling, we were settled in!  We had to get Lucy a pendant, to go with the one from the last show.

We admired the stage and waited for the show to start.  Of course, there were small children hacking all around us, so we had to do our best to position Lucy away from them, while trying to refrain from shouting at their parents.  (Yep, that's right.  Get your kid to cover their mouth, or do it for them, if you're taking their germy butt out in public.)

The stage was so pretty!  And the show began.  It was the world premiere of their "Make a New Friend" show, so Lucy got to be one of the very first to see it.

Lucy was in awe :)

At intermission, we sat Lucy up to talk about what she thought of the show.

Giving Daddy a thank-you kiss :)

I think it's starting again!

Lucy was in the front row, so as the characters came off the stage, it was easy for them to go by and stop to say hello to Lucy.  She got to shake hands with Ernie again, along with Zoe, the Count, Bert, Telly, and Grover - I was nowhere near quick enough to get pictures of these, unfortunately!  No Cookie Monster, but that's okay, because he came to visit us at our house, thanks to a friend with connections ;) (This was affiliated more with the Ripon Cookie Daze, less with Sesame Street Live!)

The show was pretty spectacular, finishing up with a big elephant and lots of dancing from some incredibly talented performers.

Parents were overheard telling their kids to go up and maul the characters - to just
"push through" anyone in their way.  Not cool, parents.  The characters, however, 
were totally awesome and danced with the kids a little before breaking free.

Overall, a big success!  We got out without any hassle, went back and packed up the few things left in our room, and made the three hour drive home, arriving around midnight.  We were tired, but we wanted to avoid the heat again, and it's always nice to sleep in your own bed :)

I want to say a huge thank you to Art and Nikki and Rich, at La Crosse Center, for making this experience so wonderful!  Rich made sure that our every need for Lucy was taken care of once we arrived, and it was such a relief to have people who were willing to do anything to help.  We would visit that venue again in a heartbeat!