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Koo Koo Kanga Roo

Lovers of crustless sandwiches, secret handshakes, and other slightly silly things won’t want to miss an art and music-filled afternoon with Koo Koo Kanga Roo Friday.

Koo Koo Kanga Roo has been making irreverently silly dance-pop music for the last 15 years, winning over audiences of every age. The group, consisting of Bryan Atchison and Neil Olstad, makes music about everything from ninjas to unibrows, and most of their songs feature some signature choreography that keeps your body moving. The duo met while they were attending school at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona.

While some might consider Koo Koo Kanga Roo to be geared primarily towards children, they think of themselves as a “kids’ band for adults.” Though they’ve certainly played their fair share of venues for youngsters, they’ve also performed alongside rock and punk bands, including stints with Frank Turner and The Smith Street Band, and Reel Big Fish. Sometimes they’ve run into hecklers at these shows, but Olstad says they just “ask people who are having a good time to go over and hug those angry guys." This sort of light-hearted response seems typical of the group’s fun-loving energy.

Beside making music, Koo Koo Kanga Roo has also released a coloring book and children’s books. Like their music, these books -- with titles like “Cat Party” and “Unicorns R Real” -- encourage a carefree, fun-filled attitude.

The Koo Koo Kanga Roo concert is presented by Threshold Arts, the nonprofit arts organization at the Castle Community. “Since the Castle opened last February, we have been looking for ways to engage a variety of different audiences, and that includes school-aged kids and young families,” says Naura Anderson, the Director of Threshold Arts. “As a mom of two, I enjoy finding new experiences for our family in Rochester, and as an event planner, I love designing events that the whole family can enjoy.”

Anderson says she’s been a fan of Koo Koo Kanga Roo since her 11-year old daughter was a toddler, and they saw the group at Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! One of Anderson’s favorite Koo Koo Kanga Roo songs is “Awesome Rainbows.” “Who doesn’t love rainbows?” she asks.

“We're also supporting local artists while giving guests a chance to be creative with programming and activities before and after the event,” she says. Head to the Castle early for face painting, a photo booth, spin art, puppet and mask-making with Amarama Art, as well as a rainbow craft with Canvas & Chardonnay. These activities will require tickets, $1-3.

Cameo will be offering snacks and beverages in Les Fields Hall for purchase during the event in addition to their regular menu, which includes many children’s options. Queen City Coffee and Juice will have special kids’ drinks available on their coffee bar on the Castle’s second floor.

“I can guarantee that this fun afternoon will put a smile on your face and make everyone feel young at heart,” says Anderson. “Watching a room full of kids having a great time and expressing themselves freely is a wonderful experience, and it's a privilege to be a part of providing that.”

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