Strollers of all kinds line the perimeter outside Firehook Bakery on S. Union Street in Old Town. Curiosity may have people wondering what the hullabaloo is all about. At the back of the coffeehouse, a special guest is entertaining the under 5 crowd and his name is Mr. Skip.
Dressed in his trademark Hawaiian shirt and acoustic guitar in tow, Mr. Skip is a music and movement singer known by moms and kids alike.
Assessing the crowd, my four year old and I purchased a daisy sugar cookie and slice of orange yogurt coffee cake and headed toward the back room. We arrived 10 minutes before show time and ended up sitting on the floor. People were packed like a can of sardines, standing and sitting everywhere.
The small, cozy space is adorned with Tiffany lamps and local artwork available for purchase. There are a handful of tables, two comfy chairs, a couch, two ottomans for lounging and three highchairs. Due to the small area, strollers are not allowed inside the bakery. There are two unisex bathrooms, but they do not have changing tables.
On a table to the left as you enter the back room, there is a small blue bucket to put your money in. The cost is $5 per child; babies three months or younger are free. It’s based on good faith, but I didn’t see many families contributing to the show.
Mr. Skip opened the show with “Hello, Hello.” Right away, you could tell many children were regulars to his concerts because they knew the words to most of the songs. The second song was everyone’s favorite “Old MacDonald,” followed by a song all about clothing colors.
Mr. Skip asked the children to move their arms in circles to prepare them for Chubby Checker’s “The Twist.” Onto the King, Elvis Presley, and “Hound Dog.” Halfway through, he slowed the song down while mommies clapped. It was so cute seeing the youngsters swaying with their hands on their hips.
After some songs Mr. Skip would say “cha cha cha.” When he didn’t say it, the kids would chime in. One little boy brought his toy guitar to jam with Mr. Skip.
Mr. Skip gave a brief background of renowned children’s singer, Raffi. Hearing “Baby Beluga” brought back many childhood memories. The room became quiet with moms began rocking their babes to sleep. Keeping things slow and mellow, were one verse of the nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Baa, Baa Black Sheep.”
It was the first time he played Lisa Loeb’s “Jenny Jenkins” which I have heard on Nick Jr., but the kids didn’t dig it. He switched gears with “Shake the Sillies Out,” followed by clap, stretch, stomp, wiggle and sleep…the sillies out. He told the kids to take a nap, but don’t snore. When Mr. Skip started to snore, the kids erupted in laughter.
Moms were saying “I remember this song” when they heard The Beatles tune “Yellow Submarine.” Mr. Skip added a nice touch by using his guitar as a drum. When he performed “I Told the Witch Doctor,” the kids roared the chorus “ooo eee ooh ah ah ting tang, walla, walla, bing, bang!”
Mr. Skip asked the audience, “are you ready to sing the alphabet song?” He purposely sang it wrong so the kids would squeal “no!” Another crowd pleaser was the tune, “There’s a Hole in the Middle of the Sea,” followed by “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “The Wheels on the Bus.
” He closed the performance with “You Are My Sunshine” and gave all the kids a sticker. The kids were enamored with Mr. Skip. He was very good at keeping children’s short attention spans by mixing music and movement. The only negative was that a few moms were talking loudly over the music which I felt was a bit rude.
Firehook Bakery offers fresh baked bread, healthy salads, sandwiches, pastries, gourmet coffee and non-carbonated beverages. You are not required to buy anything Firehook, but many patrons did support the business by making a purchase.
Parking in Old Town is difficult. There is two hour pay parking along Union Street and machines accept cash and credit cards. Opposite Firehook Bakery is a pay garage, along with nearby garages along Union Street. Prices vary with most averaging $8. Another option is to take metro. Get off at the King Street station and board the free trolley which will take you to the waterfront.
Mr. Skip performs every Tuesday from 11 to 11:45am at Firehook Bakery’s Union Street location. Parents and kids alike will enjoy spending a morning of laughter and song. Firehook is located at the base of King Street, which is close to the waterfront, shops and a nearby playground.
There is no information about events on Firehook’s website. To book Mr. Skip for an event, contact him at 302.377.4555 or visit him at www.mrskip.com.