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Kid's Fest caters to Fun Fest's youngest fans

staff report • Jul 10, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Roger Day wrote his first children’s song one Christmas when cash was short and the gift list was long. Reactions from his nieces and nephews, who begged for more songs, led this former camp counselor who had studied German and spent 10 years playing college coffeehouses, to his true calling in life.

Day will be a part of the entertainment lineup during Fun Fest Kid’s Fest on Saturday, July 16. He will perform three 30-minute shows at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Belk Court in the Kingsport Town Center. Tickets are free and can be picked up at the Fun Fest Store in the mall.

When he realized he had a knack for writing children’s songs, the challenge then became finding a place to play them. Already performing at college coffeehouses, Day started coming into town early, meeting with groups of student volunteers and offering community service children’s shows at local Head Start programs. These performances made such an impact that the National Association of Campus Activities recognized Day with the Harry Chapin Award for Contributions to Humanity, its highest public service award.

By this time, Day had two children of his own and another on the way. He loved playing for colleges, but knew that writing and performing for kids was where his talents were. So in a leap of faith, with no clear idea of where it would lead, he retired from the college circuit, became a full-time stay-at-home dad and started writing full-time for children while his wife, Jodie, worked as an elementary school speech pathologist.

With enough songs for a CD, Day saw that leap of faith pay off. He released “Rock ‘N Roll Rodeo” in 1998, followed by “Ready to Fly” in 2001. And in 2003, he filmed a family concert DVD, “Roger Day Live!” that landed him his second Parents’ Choice Recommended Award and the Film Advisory Board Award for Outstanding Family Video. The next year he made his public television debut.

Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.

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