esame Street celebrated its 50th anniversary with a road trip that stopped at the Zoellner Arts Center on Sunday, Sept. 15th. Around 1,200 people from all over the Bethlehem area came to the event to celebrate. (Xinchen Ma/B&W Staff).

Sesame Street Road Trip travels to Zoellner Arts Center

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Sesame Street Road Trip, a 50th anniversary celebration, stopped at Zoellner Arts Center to celebrate on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The event included a live concert by Kira Willey, an award-winning children’s music performer, and family-fun activities. There was also a meet and greet session with Sesame Street characters Grover and Count von Count.

PBS39 Director of Marketing Jim MacDonald said Zoellner Arts Center was the perfect venue for this event.

“We were looking for a venue and we knew that we would have to accommodate probably over 1,000 people,” MacDonald said. “We realized this would be the best venue because with the multiple rooms here, we could do the concert with Kira Willey, we could do the meet and greet with the characters and we could have areas for activities. It all could be separated so it wouldn’t be too crowded.”

MacDonald said around 1,200 people from the Bethlehem area came to celebrate the popular children’s television show that has run for decades.

“My kids, Olivia, who is 4, and Hazel, who just turned 1, grew up watching Sesame Street on HBO,” said Christine Westrich, a Bethlehem resident. “They know all the characters.”

Westrich said she grew up watching Sesame Street and she recently took her kids to Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania for the first time. 

“I personally don’t remember, but my mom said I went there as a kid too, so I took them there to see it all again,” she said.

Mary Margaret Taylor, a Bethlehem resident, said her grandson Vincent loves Sesame Street.

“We just saw the characters, so that was really exciting for him,” Taylor said. “He liked making the crafts upstairs and he loved the music. He did a lot of dancing. It was great fun.” 

The live concert by Willey, a children’s music artist, speaker and yoga instructor, was interactive for children and families.

“We really enjoyed the concert,” Westrich said. “We saw her over the summer at one of the programs hosted by PBS, so we made a point to come and see her.”

Her favorite parts of the event also included the character meet and greet, face painting and science-related activities on the second floor of Zoellner Arts Center.

“We have everything here from the activities by Wildlands Conservancy, National Museum of Industrial History, Da Vinci Science Center, the concert, to quiet spaces for kids who need to get away from all the craziness,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said he received positive feedback from the attendees and that the event wouldn’t be possible without all of the organizations involved.

“Sesame Street 50 Years and Counting” was hosted by PBS39, sponsored by Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania and PNC.

MacDonald said the companies’ investment in the program is significant, noting that they both invest in community programs like this throughout the state.

“In order for us to be able to do this, we had some significant sponsors,” MacDonald said. “Not only Zoellner, who helped us by providing this space, but Aetna Better Health Pennsylvania and PNC have also contributed to making the event possible.” 

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