Elmo and company tour Europe with USO
Stars and Stripes July 5, 2013
AVIANO, Italy — For a few weeks this summer, toddlers won’t need to know how to get to Sesame Street — it’s coming to them instead.
Elmo, Cookie Monster and the gang made a stop Friday at Aviano Air Base during the Sesame Street USO Tour Experience, one of 42 performances across eight countries between Europe and the Pacific.
The show includes singing, dancing and educating young children in the audience on the hardships of being part of a military family.
The next stop is Tuesday at Grafenwöhr, Germany.
“I’d like to think this show is one big thank you card,” Nicole McClendon, Sesame Street USO Experience for military families tour manager, said.
This free 30-minute show is full of upbeat music and dancing performed by the bright and enthusiastic Sesame Street characters that many children and adults have grown to love seeing over the years.
“My favorite is Cookie Monster,” 6-year-old Kayla said, referencing his size because of how many cookies he eats.
Over the past two years, Sesame Street has introduced another character named Katie into the show to try to build another connection with children and the hardships of being part of a military family. During the show Katie discovers she is about to move to another installation, which she is afraid of and saddened by. As most servicemembers and their families are all too familiar with, moving can happen many times during their career and can play a significant role in a child’s life. The fear of losing friends can be scary and hard to deal with.
During the show, the characters teach Katie that she won’t be losing the friends she already has, but will be gaining more friends wherever she’s moving to.
“Katie was nice and friendly,” 8-year-old Lillianna said.
Following Friday’s show, as many adults as kids could be seen leaving the elementary school auditorium with smiles on their faces.
“At the end where everyone came up to shake everybody’s hands,” 10-year-old Brandon Grayson said.
Brandon said he doesn’t watch as much Sesame Street anymore in comparison to his 4-year-old sister, Giselle.
Giselle was too preoccupied to comment about the show thanks to her new free spinning Elmo toy, which lit up with bright lights every time she pushed a button.
Remaining European and Pacific dates
July 9 – Grafenwöhr July 10 – Grafenwöhr July 12 – Bamberg July 14 – Schweinfurt July 15 – Schweinfurt July 17 – Ansbach July 19 – Stuttgart July 22 – Wiesbaden July 24 – Kaiserslautern July 25 – Kaiserslautern July 27 – Ramstein July 27 – Ramstein July 30 – Baumholder Aug. 3 – Schinnen Aug. 8 – Alconbury Aug. 12 – Mildenhall Aug. 18 – Moron Aug. 20 – Rota Aug. 31 – Misawa Sept. 1 – Misawa Sept. 5 – Iwakuni Visit uso.org/Entertainment/Sesame/Tour-Schedule for upcoming venues, dates and times.