WILKES-BARRE – Admittedly, some of the youngsters were a tad skeptical when Disney's cartoon stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb took the stage at Heights-Murray Elementary School on Wednesday – a few shouts of are you real? popped up. But when it came time to dance with the duo, the students enjoyed it more than celery.
The pair of plotting kin – their relentless success in foiling a sister's tattle-tale attempts is a core plot in each Phineas and Ferb episode – came to the school to entertain, offer a healthy snack recipe and call attention to a food collection drive for the Weinberg Food Bank. Adults who donate unopened cans of food through Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office can get free children's tickets to the Phineas and Ferb show there on Sunday.
Demi Ahlert, a cast member in the show, taught about 55 students how to make ants on a log: Spread a little peanut butter onto a piece of celery and dot a row of raisins into it. Geymy Adoe, 6, looked like she was enjoying it, but did make a bit of a face after taking a solid bite. Does she like celery? She shook her head unequivocally, no.
Ahlert then got the students on their feet to teach the show's Gitchie Gitchie Goo Dance. Clap hands above the head four times, pump hands in front of the chest four times, kick one foot up and wave four times, then, well, gitchie gitchie goo. When the music started, the room became a celebration of youthful exuberance, with one student shouting out I'll move it!
Phineas and Ferb arrived, more three-dimensional but less animated than their usual TV selves, to join in the dance and pose for a photo with each child, high-fiving, fist-bumping and hugging throughout. A few youngsters shouted out offers of gifts … of uneaten celery, though none made the offer on stage.
The program was provided in partnership with the Commission on Economic Opportunity, which runs the food bank. The students, from Heights-Murray and Dodson elementary schools, were participants in the CEO-sponsored Kid's Café, an after-school program that provides tutoring and educational help as well as an evening meal.