Last night we mixed up our week night routine and headed over to the State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois for a family night out to experience Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic! We were lucky enough to attend the Meet and Greet beforehand and then watched the 1.5 hour show from seats right up in front of the action. When Sesame Street Live reached out to me about the opportunity to partner on this event I was excited to be able to incorporate a family friendly outing into this blog that I knew my boys would enjoy. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Nicole over at The Gorman Guide, for giving Sesame Street Live my contact information. We actually got to sit right next to her little fam which was perfect because our kids are basically connected at the hip.
There were 2 show times available, 2:30PM and 6:30PM, we opted for the 6:30PM showtime to work best with our schedules. For the Meet and Greet experience people were supposed to get there 70 minutes prior to the show start time which we did, but I completely forgot about the clear bag policy and had to run back out to my car. Being a Champaign-Urbana local AND working at the University, I should have remembered this, but…nope! Good news though, we still were able to walk right in and meet the Count von Count, Big Bird, and Elmo. Nevertheless, I thought I would include this little reminder for any other on the go mommas who might let little things like this slip their mind, might be able to save ya 10-15 minutes!
We’ve never done a Meet and Greet experience before so I was curious as to how it would be structured. In my head, I envisioned having to stand in line for a good chunk of time and then flip a coin as to whether my youngest would be scared of the characters that close up, or the complete opposite. Our most recent visit with Santa was on my mind…loves talking about Santa, not a fan of getting close to Santa -can ya relate? Pleasantly, I was surprised when Jack’s face lit up upon seeing the friendly characters and stayed that way even when we got up close on the stage. My oldest, Chase, was a bit hesitant on the first one, but then got in his comfort zone with some highfives.
Can I just say I wouldn’t ask that Sesame Street Live change a thing about their setup for this? Our wait in line was very minimal and while in line my kids were entertained with the roaming magician and bubbles floating in the air. After the fact, there was a short scavenger hunt that the kids got to do too. Jack even pulled out his scavenger hunt paper multiple times during the show when he’d see pictures that matched with what he saw on stage. It was neat to see his brain connecting with this. Most of all, I need to commend the staff -they were SO friendly and welcoming -this goes for State Farm Center too.
They knew how to relate with the kids through conversation and the whole picture taking thing with characters was a breeze. There was a friendly gentleman who greeted us before going up on the stage where the characters were. He gave us a quick rundown of how it would work. He was even so thoughtful to welcome us to put our coats and belongings down so we didn’t have to crowd them in our pictures. This may sound like a very small gesture, but to any parent who loves capturing moments with their family via photos, this does not go unnoticed. It is one less thing to have to worry about.
Once we got up on stage we were paired with a staff member who was full of energy and took us to meet the characters individually. He carried my iPhone with him the whole time snapping tons of pictures for me to choose from. They know what they are doing, I was so pleased with this. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about when there is a moment you are really hoping to have documented, but then you get home and you only have one picture…Jack’s eyes are closed, Chase is sticking his tongue out, Ben looks mad, and I look a hot mess. Don’t get me wrong, these are great to have -they are real life but Sesame Street Live gave me these, along with photos of everyone looking at the camera and smiling. Kudos and a huge thanks to them for magically making this happen!
After the Meet and Greet experience, we said hi to a few friends, grabbed some drinks and popcorn (which Jack spilled half of), attempted to snap some photos of all the cousins together (maybe we should have asked the staff for help, ha!), and then got cozied up in our seats. We were right in front which was not only perfect for viewing, but we also had just below the waist length bars in front of us. Why were these bars a bonus? Because at various points in the show the kids were going CRAZY and using them to balance themselves while they jumped and danced around to the music. Every now and again, a small circle of kids would venture towards the stage putting all their best dance moves on the floor. I was thankful to have these bars to help us have a little control of our crew! Seeing the show through their eyes and just how excited they get is something special.
The 1.5 hour show features Justin, the magician, who visits Sesame Street to perform a magic show that Elmo wants to participate in -but Elmo struggles in the magic department. With the help of Abby, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Rosita, Grover, and Count von Count, Elmo learns through everyday moments that with continued practice, time, patience, and effort, you can acheive the dreams that you aspire to. “You can do anything that you set your mind to if you just keep trying,” they said; a perfect lesson for my boys to continue to hear as one gets frustrated with his letters and the other in getting his coat off. A lesson that is important now at age 2 and 4, and a lesson that continues to be important at any age in life.
The show is brought to life through interactive music and dancing. I think my favorite part was the Cookie Shuffle with Cookie Monster…adults, think the Cupid Shuffle. This was a favorite with my boys too. There is a short intermission in the show and we probably would have made it out of the State Farm Center without any misbehavior from our 2 year old if we would have left then, but our 4 year old was behaving. We stayed and just dealt with Jack’s attitude as best we could towards the end of the show. Friends, when you are at events like this, just look to your right, left, and all around -you are surrounded by other adults trying to tame their kids at one point or another. You aren’t in an entertainment hall for a speech where you can hear the drop of a feather. Embrace any chaos that your kids may bring and enjoy the show.
We are thankful to Sesame Street Live for hosting us at the State Farm Center and look forward to similar events. You can check out the tour dates for upcoming Sesame Street Live shows here. Illinois friends, you can actually catch the show in Springfield this weekend and there are some additional Illinois dates up north in the coming months. If you are reading this and you aren’t in Illinois, no worries, this is a national tour! Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions that you may have and I’ll do my best to help (based off of my own experience).