“How do they do it?” To see Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and – especially – Oscar the Grouch up on stage, well, that was something. Yes, I knew that these were puppets dancing and singing in front of the thronged masses. But I was still intrigued. These characters sounded so real – how did it happen? And could I see more of it? Fast forward to the present. Sesame Street Live is coming back to Fort Wayne with its new show, “Make a New Friend.” In this presentation, Grover’s friend, Chamki, will be visiting from the country of India. Popular Sesame characters like Abby Cadabby and Elmo will also be there, to see how everyone can become friends through shared cultural habits. What I truly enjoy about these events at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is the atmosphere. Suddenly, the whole place is a wonderland filled with souvenirs, popcorn, excited kids, happy parents, and flashing cameras. The wide hallways are clean and easy to navigate, and ushers are everywhere to help. Stands filled with stuffed toys, t-shirts, coloring books, hats, magic wands, and all sorts of other memorabilia are crowded. Kids with parents in tow hike up to the table and point out what they want. The clerks are harried but cheerful, making sure they reach down just the right toy. The program books hawked in the entrances are kind of expensive, so if you’re willing to just watch and go with the flow, you can still enjoy the show for a little less money. The salty tang of stadium food mixes with the sweet whiff of cotton candy, which is sold in the stadium seats during breaks. Every so often, usually before and after the Sesame show, vendors walk among the aisles with snacks and souvenirs. Blinking LED’s dance from the seats and aisles as kids and vendors wave souvenirs. The Coliseum, which can seat 13,000 people, is shaped like a giant oval. The center stage, for special events like Sesame Street or Disney on Ice, is divided in half, so the audience only sits around part of the arena. Through the shimmering drapes come the characters, and any seat is a good one if you want to see all the action. Exits are handy, if you need to answer the phone or take someone out for a quick cleanup. And before the show, if you want to find some activity sheets for your kids with $3 discounts on tickets for you, click on the Coliseum’s info page here. Sesame Street Live: Make a New Friend looks like it will be a lot of fun. Show dates for Fort Wayne are August 27 and 28, and tickets are available either at the Coliseum or online, through Ticketmaster. Why not come out to Fort Wayne’s own Sesame Street and experience the fun? Favorite Sesame Street Characters will be onstage at Fort Wayne's Coliseum on August 27-28. Elmo and Abby Cadabby will be in Fort Wayne, too!