Volume 17 • Issue 4 | June 18 - 24, 2004

Children’s Day Festival at South Street Seaport

By Ellison Walcott

Photo by Maike Schulz

The Russian-American Kids Circus On Stage, produced and presented by the Berenchtein and Partigul families, will be performing at the Seaport Saturday.

Despite the promise of the world icing over in the recent Hollywood blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow,” we’re heading into a long hot summer — and with that certainty comes the inevitable phrase, “Mom, I’m bored.”

But for at least one day, this Sat., June 19th, Downtown children will be dazzled and diverted by the 11th annual Children’s Day Festival at the South Street Seaport. The range and diversity will most certainly exceed those wintry visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.

Sesame Street characters Elmo, Bert and Ernie, will join the likes of Cailou, Clifford and the Bernstein Bears as inhabitants of the streets of the South Street Seaport.

The first Children’s Day took place on the World Trade Center’s Austin J. Tobin Plaza in 1993. Its intent was to bring families back to the Downtown neighborhood after the bombing of the World Trade Center. After September 11th, the Festival found a new home at the South Street Seaport.

“The mayor will draw a proclamation making it the official Children’s Day in New York City for this year,” said Steve Dima, producer/organizer of the event. “It’s the biggest event in Lower Manhattan of its kind.”

No childhood dream will go unanswered, as the events will spill into every corner of the seaport with performances by a slew of trademarked characters, along with arts and crafts, clowns, face painting, magicians, jugglers and a petting zoo lining the periphery.

Three separate stages will include a variety of guests throughout the day. Mayor Bloomberg will initiate the festivities at 1 pm on the CenterStage with the proclamation and then turn the emcee duties over to Gordon from Sesame Street for the rest of the afternoon. Other events on CenterStage at Pier 17 will include the cast from Cyberchase, Mr. McFeeley from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and The Russian American Kids Circus.

The Trachtenburg Family Slide Show Players will make a reappearance, as they were rained out last year. They will play some of their well-known hits like “Eggs,” “It Must Be Somebody’s Birthday” and “Look At Me.” They will also perform a new song titled “Slide Show Paradise.” The song is an ode to the many generous people who donate slides for their performances and the regret they have in not being able to use them all.

In the past Target has donated some funds, but this year they have been a major benefactor of the event and have played a key role in bringing in Morris Day and the Time for the older kids with the funkier predilections. Day and his band take the stage at 9 p.m. and their set closes with a 25-minute pyrotechnics display called the “Target Big Oooh Aaah Fireworks.”

“Target loves New York and it’s a great way to kick off the summer,” said John Remington, vice president of marketing at Target. “We want to show New York our support and commitment, especially since Children’s Day used to be held at the World Trade Center.”

“It really is a gift to the community and a lot of people that come don’t have the opportunity to experience a lot of the events that we provide at Children’s Day,” said Dima. “Mostly, it’s an incredible opportunity to give back to the community and to help keep Lower Manhattan thriving.”

For a complete listing and chronology of the events check out ww.childrensdaynyc.com. The South Street Seaport will be filled with fun and frolic for tots of all ages.

(See Ed Koch’s review of “The Day After Tomorrow” on page 28.)

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