The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 13, 2013

(VIDEO) Okee Dokee raises awareness for Parent Aware

Grammy-winning kids act performs at day care

MANKATO — Sharla Boyer was decked out in a white cowboy hat, matching boots and a flannel blouse, which wasn't unusual.

As Boyer said, if you can't dress up when working with kids, then when can you?

What wasn't quite the norm at Sharla Boyer Family Child Care in west Mankato was the live folk concert going on in her backyard. Grammy Award-winning children's act Okee Dokee Brothers dropped by Tuesday afternoon to perform a private concert for Boyer and her kids.

“It's been just wonderful,” she said.

Child Care Aware of Minnesota — the agency that helps administer Parent Aware, which rates child care programs in the state — partnered with Okee Dokee for a mini concert tour Tuesday, hitting three locations in the Twin Cities and Mankato in a big yellow school bus.

The idea was to raise awareness for school readiness and Parent Aware in the most fun way possible. And the enthusiastic response from both children, parents and caregivers indicated the idea was a successful one Tuesday afternoon.

Most clapped along with every folksy tune, including the title track from their Grammy-winning album “Can You Canoe?” and “Growing Together,” written in support of Child Care Aware.

“I think they're tired of clapping, Justin,” said Joe Mailander to bandmate Justin Lansing. “I think it's time for some knee-slapping.”

The duo performed several songs and even incorporated a few kids into the mix, asking them to play instruments during a song. They also held an “auction” to win a copy of their CD. The winner was the one who did the most enthusiastic finger dance during the song: Boyer, who promised to share the music with all the kids at her day care.

“Everybody else here just won free tickets to the rest of this show,” Mailander said.

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