Baby Shark Concert: How This Grinch Got on Board with the Phenomenon

Unpopular opinion, especially from someone that writes a family-centric travel blog, but I don’t covet everything “baby”. I won’t ooh and ahh over a stranger’s baby. I’ve never told my kids it was “din-din” time or ask if they want a “baba” of “wawa”. It just isn’t me. So when I heard that Baby Shark Concert was coming to Hawaii, my initial thought was to grimace. I hadn’t even introduced Baby Shark to my daughter when it first got popular (my mom did, however). Needless to say, as Hawaii parents everywhere scrambled to get tickets, I didn’t even bother to look up showtimes.

The Baby Shark Concert

Then one day while I was at a cheerleading competition for my cousin’s kid, the Baby Shark concert got brought up. My cousin was regaling us with stories about all these people she knew that threw Baby Shark-themed birthday parties. Listening to the phenomenon and discussing how many kids were obsessed with it made me realize that I was doing my kid an injustice by boycotting it. Just call me the Grinch whose heart grew three sizes in one day. I went home that night and bought tickets.

Coming to Hawaii!

Probably the coolest part about the concert was that it almost didn’t happen. Welcome to the downside of living in Hawaii. No two-day Amazon Prime shipping. Nor Chipotle, Olive Garden, or Trader Joes. No shipment of many bulky furniture items that are sold online. Nor a stop on the Hamilton tour. And no Baby Shark concert. (I do realize that no one is going to feel too sorry for me #Hawaiiproblems.)

However, my favorite local magazine (Honolulu Family) teamed up with the creators of Baby Shark to bring the concert here. Well, they were able to bring part of the concert to Oahu in any case. My understanding is that the full Baby Shark concert is actually two hours long. Dubbed the Baby Shark Mini-Show, the Honolulu Concert was only going to run for 1 hour. My tiny, little Grich heart really appreciated the decreased show time when deciding whether or not to bite the bullet and purchase tickets. I figured I could handle 1 hour of just about any concert. And with that, tickets were bought.

The Baby Shark Mini-Show

Let the show begin!

Since I purchased the tickets at the last minute, we ended up in the nose bleed section of the Blaisdell Concert Hall. It didn’t seem to make a difference to Emily. She downed her blue popcorn, hugged her new Mama Shark stuffed animal (because everything she owns needs to be pink) and waved her light stick. And that was before the Baby Shark Concert even started.

Max and Ruby Show

The Baby Shark Mini-Show was broken down into 30 minutes of Max and Ruby, a 15-minute intermission and 30 minutes of Baby Shark and Pinkfong. The Max and Ruby part of the show included big rabbits jumping around the stage with a mouse singing children songs. I thought Emily knew who Max and Ruby were by her participation in the songs. She didn’t, but she still thought they were wonderful. And then (after the intermission) came Pinkfong to introduce the star of the show, Baby Shark.

How was it?

You know what? It actually was really awesome. First Pinkfong taught the audience the hand motions to Baby Shark (which this blogger definitely needed a lesson on). And then THE song started, sing-along style with the cartoon and lyrics behind the dancers onstage. After Baby Shark, the group of singers/dancers continued on with Penguins Attention (my personal favorite) and Jungle Boogie. (There was also a dinosaur song I wasn’t able to find online.) And then because the Pinkfong crew knew their audience, they threw in a super-fast remix version of Baby Shark to round out the show. Emily walked out of there super sad that it was over. And I walked out super thankful that I had sucked up my reservations and bought us tickets.

We are ready for the concert to start

As for my level of enjoyment, I maaaayyyy have been singing Baby Shark all day at work the next day. Just think of me as the Grinch singing with all the Whos in Whoville.

A tip on what age of children would like the Baby Shark Concert?

Based on the crowd at the concert, Emily may be at the older end of the Baby Shark fanbase spectrum. However, Leo is definitely too young for it. I was shocked to see so many of the under 1 crowd in attendance. It’s not that bringing a baby would be frowned upon at this concert. Quite the opposite. There was so much laughing and (happy) screaming going on throughout the concert, a baby would fit right in. I’m just not sure the baby would be able to make it through the concert.

I took a special interest in watching the groups that had babies. Truthfully, I was feeling a little guilty for leaving Leo at home and was interested in seeing how the kids his age handled the concert. I watched as one by one, those families left, often before the Pinkfong section even began. No matter how cute the songs were, those babies were NOT happy to be stuck in those laps/seats for an extended period of time.

What’s next for Baby Shark?

While Hawaii readers have missed the boat, for all you mainland inhabitants, there is still time. Here is a link to the tour for the Baby Shark show. Go for it! You’ll be happy you did!

Hawaii Girl Travels…

Check out Destinations to see all the other places I’ve talked about. Click here for our experience at Aulani’s Painted Sky and Aulani’s Pau Hana Room and Menehune Adventure Trails. For other posts about Oahu experiences, read up about my experience at Tea at 1024.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze: The Best Way To Kick Off the Holiday Season

Along the mighty Hudson, in a forest and through a maze, lies an enchanted kingdom called The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. – Excerpt from “A Journey through The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze”

Everyone should get to experience kicking off the festive season by visiting the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Started as a local celebration in 2005, the event now includes 7,000 lit-up pumpkins on the grounds of the 18th century Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson. The Blaze also includes synchronized lighting and an original, hypnotic soundtrack. While I couldn’t picture wanting to raise my kids anywhere other than Hawaii, the east coast really spoiled me in terms of amazing experiences. There were so many awe-inspiring events just a car ride away. The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is certainly at the top of that “amazing experiences” list.

Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Storm’s a-comin’!

I first heard about the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the fall of 2011. I jumped at the chance to get tickets. Unfortunately, to the dismay of children everywhere in Metro-NY, a fluke snowstorm hit the area right before Halloween. All the pumpkins from the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze were destroyed. Halloween was officially canceled that year as was the Blaze (we were refunded the money for our tickets).

When fall 2012 came around I bought tickets again. I assumed there was no way that a fluke storm would hit the area two years in a row. For those of you that didn’t live on the eastern seaboard at that time, I’d like to introduce you to a little something called Hurricane Sandy. Talk about bad timing for kids. For the second year in a row, Halloween was officially canceled. I assumed the Blaze was canceled as well. It was only when I tried to get my tickets refunded that I realized the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze was still running. How could that be? Volunteers secured all 7,000 pumpkins in a safe spot before Sandy. Then, they re-organized everything back outside after the hurricane left. How amazing is that? A hurricane was barreling down on Croton-on-Hudson and people saved the pumpkins!

That year, Bryan and I kicked off what would become our annual trek to the Blaze. We grabbed a bite to eat in one of the only restaurants that had electricity after the hurricane. Then, it was off to Van Cortlandt Manor.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze: The Details

Most of the dates and times for the Blaze sell out in advance so make sure you buy tickets early.

Stalks of corn

After finding parking in the ample lot of the Van Cortlandt Manor, visitors start their journey by making their way into tents selling holiday merchandise and food. Lots and lots of food. There are lots of items to nosh on, including soup, chili, donuts, pumpkin pie and my favorite… hot apple cider. Admittance is done on a timed basis in 30-minute intervals. Visitors wait in the aforementioned tents and enter the Blaze when their time is called. Note that the Blaze will undoubtedly be packed with a continuously long line. This long line is actually perfect since most visitors will spend their time in open-mouthed awe, gaping at the amazing carvings laid out in front of them.

The Time of the Dinosaurs

Pumpkin Palooza

When I was buying tickets for the first time, a part of me thought ‘how many traditional pumpkin-carved faces do people really need to see?’ I mean, 7,000 certainly seemed excessive. But as you can see already, they aren’t the normal carvings that you do at home with triangle eyes and a couple of teeth. Here in the Hudson Valley, they have recreated dinosaurs, scarecrows, insects, monsters, you name it. Even famous local and international landmarks abound.

According to the Hudson Valley website, “more than 1,000 volunteers help to scoop, carve, and light the pumpkins and every single jack o’ lantern is hand-carved on site by [a] team of professional artists.” While they do use some artificial pumpkins in their displays, each pumpkin is carved by one of the professional artists. And they still use real pumpkins as well. The artists end up carving throughout the festival in order to replace about a thousand pumpkins every week, according to an article in Westchester Magazine.

The last time we visited the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, our plans to move back to Hawaii were already in the works. I’m glad that we went to the Blaze knowing that it might be our last time, because it really helped us to soak in all the amazing pumpkin designs… and also prompted me into shopping for souvenirs. “A Journey through The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” by Suzanne Christine has become one of the family’s favorite Halloween children’s books.

New this year to the Blaze

Since I don’t want to be writing about things that aren’t still relevant, I did some research as to how the Jack O’Lantern Blaze is going this year. It turns out it has become even more amazing. They have created a twenty-foot working pumpkin carousel. Excuse me while I make plans to spend the Halloween festivities in New York next year. Even better? The designer of this one-of-a-kind carousel is William Dentzel, a descendant of one of the first carousel makers in America. Crazy right?

Jack O'Lantern Blaze
Photo Credit: Historic Hudson Valley

For all who enter this kingdom, it is bound to delight and amaze, beckoning return journeys through The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. – Excerpt from “A Journey through The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze”

Hawaii Girl Travels…

Check out Destinations to see all the other places I’ve talked about. For other New York City-related information, read about my Brooklyn weekend getaway, an amazing day at Spa Castle, our 6-day trip back to NYC with an almost-three-year-old, and my recommendations of can’t miss things to see and do in New York City and the best places to eat in NYC if you don’t mind a hefty price tag.

The New York Renaissance Faire: A Bygone Era Worth Visiting

The most magical event takes place every August and September in Sterling Forest, New York: the New York Renaissance Faire. A recreation of a 16th-century Elizabethan village, you can spend your entire day watching plays and strolling musicians, cheer on your favorite knight in a joust or try your hand at archery. And don’t forget about the mead. You can drink a lot of mead.

I was introduced to this fascinating world of renaissance fairs due to an episode of The Girls Next Door (I used to be obsessed with that reality TV series). After seeing how much fun Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends had, I started looking into potential renaissance fairs near me and became determined to attend one. I even added it to my bucket list as something to do. When I found out that Sterling Forest was only an hour away from us and held one of the biggest renaissance fairs in the country, I knew I had to visit.

What to expect at the New York Renaissance Faire

As soon as you enter the gates of the Faire, it is like you’ve stepped back in time. Set within 65 acres of beautiful forest, the New York Renaissance Faire features countless performances, crafts, and shopping experiences. Maps of the Faire are sold at the entrance for $2 each or if you would like to save money, you can plan ahead and print out a copy from their website.

2019 NY Renaissance Faire Map
Map courtesy of the Renaissance Faire website

It’s true that the admission costs are nothing to laugh over, but that cost will let you see all the performances for free and the acting is amazing. They never break character. There are so many things to do and see that it’s worth taking a look at the schedule ahead of time to plan your day out appropriately. Even if you play it by ear, like Bryan and I did most of the time, it is fascinating just walking around the forest. There are so many things to discover and see, the New York Renaissance Faire has it all.

NY Renaissance Faire

What to wear to the New York Renaissance Faire

The first year we went to the Faire we dressed in normal street clothes. After all, to go all out and get a costume would be so geeky, right? Well, maybe it is, but I felt so left out. I wanted to be one of the medieval ladies, pirate wrenches, or fairies that were wandering about. Costumes of all kinds were there. There was even a group dressed up like Doctor Who, Amy and Rory, which was a separate group from the gentleman that dressed up like the Fourth Doctor. Needless to say, I’ve been to the Faire numerous times since our first visit, and I went in costume every time.

The last year we went, Emily came with us, pink fairy costume and all.

While anything goes as it relates to costumes, keep in mind that there are special theme weekends such as a Heroes & Villians weekend, Pirate weekend, and Celtic weekend.

What to do at the New York Renaissance Faire

There are so many different things to do that you can spend more than a day here. Musicians serenade crowds with their folk tunes. Musical and comedic plays are performed throughout the day as well. My favorite was the Washing Well Wrenches that typically performed on the Pageant Wagon Stage.

You can try your hand at medieval games of skill. The most popular one was probably archery. I thought I could channel Katniss trying to survive in the arena, but I was horrible. A very sweet, toothless, elderly gentlemen taught me how to at least hit the bag…. Though not the bulls-eye.

NY Renaissance Faire

You can also throw ninja stars, knives, and axes. See the ax closest to the bulls-eye? That was mine! I got the ax champion award of our group. (That’s the sticker I’m pointing at in the second picture.) No one else beside Bryan and me even got it lodged on the board. Yup, we are awesome.

There is medieval pageantry, including the arrival of the Queen, jousting tournaments, and parades.

Amongst their more interesting events are lessons on hawking and throwing tomatoes at a clown that will insult you.

And of course, no renaissance fair is complete without maypole dancing. Note to self: add “participate in a maypole dance” to my Bucket List.

NY Renaissance Faire

What to buy at the New York Renaissance Faire

If you don’t want to buy a costume, you can always rent one for the day at the Faire. Additionally, there are shops that sell armor, glasses, candles, soaps, jewelry, you name it. You can even see a glass-blowing demonstration.

What to eat (and drink) at the New York Renaissance Faire

The food, oh the food. Everything you can imagine at a typical fair and more can be found at the Renaissance Faire. There was, pizza, chicken fingers, burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries, fried cheese, jerky and gyros just to name a few. And of course turkey legs.

Several pubs are scattered throughout the park serving all kids of delectable treats, but I was partial to one drink more than others every time we went there…. mead!

The one thing I’ve never been brave enough to try while at the Renaissance Faire was the BBQ Sundae. Although, I guess it is just a really efficient way to eat BBQ.

Keep in mind that food tends to be expensive and typically only cash payment options exist. However, you are not allowed to bring in outside food, so either do not go hungry or prepared to spend your money.

Where to park at the New York Renaissance Faire

Get to the New York Renaissance Faire early. Parking is free (unless you want the preferred $15 parking) but fills up fast.

Hawaii Girl Travels…

Check out Destinations to see all the other places I’ve talked about. For other New York City related information, read about my Brooklyn weekend getaway, an amazing day at Spa Castle, our 6-day trip back to NYC with an almost-three-year-old, and my recommendations of can’t miss things to see and do in New York City and the best places to eat in NYC if you don’t mind a hefty price tag.