MOOSIC — As Scott Hall was explaining why he brought his family to PNC Field on Saturday, he looked over at his 3-year-old daughter, Avelyn, who was contemplating whether or not to give Daniel Tiger a high-five.
In celebration of Avelyn’s birthday Saturday, the Scott Township father brought his family out to the WVIA and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Fan Fest event held at the field, offering community members a free afternoon of crafts, children’s stories and a meet-and-greet with PBS Kids character Daniel Tiger from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
“When we found out he was in town, we wanted to give them a chance to come see him,” Hall said of bringing Avelyn and his son, Caden, who both watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and other PBS Kids shows regularly.
The Fan Fest was one of WVIA’s free clubhouse events, offering dozens of guests the ability to interact with WVIA members as well as RailRiders mascot Champ. The public programming station holds roughly eight free, non-member events per year.
“It’s an event that’s held right before the baseball season,” Said WVIA Clubhouse Mom Debby Konnick. “We just really enjoy bringing some of the PBS characters out to meet the children,” she said, adding that in past years, Curious George stopped by the home of the RailRiders to say hello.
Families lined up inside the Mohegan Sun Club level as they waited to meet Daniel Tiger and Champ, posing for pictures in front of the RailRiders championship trophies. Across the room, tables filled with multicolored foam pieces shaped as butterflies, hearts, cats and more allowed children to create necklaces and bracelets to take home, along with other free educational items. As the characters finished posing for photos they moved around the room, interacting with children and often receiving hugs and high fives from some of their biggest fans.
RailRiders President Josh Olerud said working with WVIA over the years has been a wonderful collaboration, bringing families to the field and allowing WVIA members to obtain discounts on tickets for the baseball games, as well introduce more members of the community to the station and all that it does.
“Having Curious George and Daniel Tiger opens us up to a different fan base,” Olerud said. “It coincides with us opening up our soon-to-be season on sale for the first time.
As the children took their seats on the carpet and gathered around Konnick for story time, she rummaged through a case before deciding on which book she would read next. As she pulled out “The Jolly Jungle” — a pop-up book about different animals that live in the habitat — she asked the kids questions about the animals they read about. The first animal in the jungle was the lion.
“What sound does a lion make?,” she asked the group.
After the children responded with a “Roar!” she turned the page to the next animal, an elephant.
As Konnick read to the group, Brenton Fico held his 4-month-old daughter, Hazel.
Although Hazel seemed to enjoy all the sights and sounds, Fico said his other two children were not so enamoured with the characters, but still had a good time at the event.
“We’re generally just huge fans of RailRiders baseball,” he said of why they came to the Fan Fest. “Any afternoon we can come down here, we do.”
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