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Kids enjoy Kaleidoscope at the Main Library Plaza

Children dance at Tuesday's Kaleidoscope performance by Duke Otherwise. (Photo by Anna Jones)1 / 3
Duke Otherwise, Tuesday's Kaleidoscope performer, called kids on stage to help him out with a song. (Photo by Anna Jones)2 / 3
Duke Otherwise and his suitcase full of musical instruments he has kids volunteer to play while he performs. (Photo by Anna Jones)3 / 3

For decades Kaleidoscope, a Duluth summertime tradition, has delighted children and parents with diverse forms of entertainment. Kaleidoscope events, put on by the Duluth Public Library, are free 45-minute performances on the Main Library Plaza every Tuesday. The shows range from musicians to acrobats to comedians and much more.

"The interactions are great, the performers they (the library) pick seem to always do a good job of interacting with the kids," said Natalie Constance, a Kaleidoscope regular. "It gives my grandsons a live viewing experience."

Constance brings her two grandsons and sometimes their friends, nearly every week. She thinks the performances are a great way to be outdoors in the community and knows many of the other families who attend Kaleidoscope.

"It (Kaleidoscope) is always a good mix of comedy and songs, the kids get really excited and involved, it's just a nice thing to do outside in Duluth," said Julie Bellehumeur, who attended last Tuesday's performance with her daughter, Maggie.

Since the plaza is covered, shows take place rain or shine. Kids dance and run around, while parents hold infants and converse.

"I like the singing and dancing and the funny parts of the shows," said eight-year-old Maggie Bellehumeur.

On July 19, Duke Otherwise from Madison, Wis. performed, playing guitar and singing along with audience involvement.

"The performance here (Main Library Plaza) is crazy, wild, it's a live audience, a lot of my shows are usually inside of libraries, making them a lot more subdued, here it is more like a celebration, almost a party atmosphere, each show is different and this one is definitely fun," Otherwise said.

Otherwise has been performing since he was a kid but has done children's shows for a little over four years. This was his second year doing a Kaleidoscope performance.

"It is a great joy working with kids and inspiring them," Otherwise said. "I am always writing, whether it's music, songs, stories, whatever it might be, and I feel like there isn't a good amount of kids content out there that parents can enjoy as well. I really want to create something that's not just tolerable for adults, but enjoyable, that is my goal, to create something artistic for all ages that parents and kids alike, enjoy."

Kaleidoscope shows are Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. If you plan on attending, make sure you bring a blanket to sit on. For more information about the entertainment and who will be performing in the upcoming shows, visit the Duluth Public Library website.

"I really enjoy the camaraderie with kids, performing to kids you never know what you may get," Otherwise said. "Sometimes you get the most hilarious, gregarious kids to volunteer to help and then I have kids who are really shy and I love the spontaneity of it."

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