This time of year, kids get excited about that guy in the funny red suit coming to town.
But a kid-friendly celeb of the purple variety will have the hearts and minds of thousands of Wichita-area children this weekend.
Barney the lovable purple dinosaur and his friends Baby Bop, BJ and Riff will bring "Barney Live in Concert — Birthday Bash" to Intrust Bank Arena Saturday and Sunday.
The 70-minute concert promises to have kids from the ages of 2 to 8 clapping, dancing and singing along as their favorite characters take the stage. They'll sing familiar songs such as "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "Wheels on the Bus." And they'll enjoy some Barney favorites like "Dino Dance" and "Baby Bop Hop."
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The live tour based on the famous TV show "Barney & Friends" will focus on the same positive messages the show does, primarily, sharing and caring for others.
Kids are encouraged to sing along and dance in the aisles, and parents are encouraged to take their cameras and take all the photos they want.
Barney has been part of kid pop culture since 1992, when the show was picked up by PBS. A Texas mother, Sheryl Leach, had invented the 200-million-old purple Tyrannosaurus rex in 1987 after she took her 2-year-old son to a robotic dinosaur exhibit and saw how enthralled he was by it. At the time, she was looking for a lovable character on which to base a series of kids videos and had been toying with the idea of a big fuzzy teddy bear.
Instead, she settled on a toothless purple T rex that sings, dances, loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and spouts catchphrases like "super-dee-duper" and "stu-u-u-pendous."
Though PBS executives canceled the series after only six weeks on the air, viewers demanded its return. Barney's resurrection led to worldwide success: The show has aired in Canada, Latin America, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan.
Now, millions of kids — and their parents — know the words to Barney's most famous song: "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family. ..."
Other Barney facts
* There is at least one "please" and one "thank you" in every "Barney & Friends" episode.
* The most recent season of "Barney & Friends" was the first not to have any new episodes or songs. Instead, segments from seasons 10 and 11 were combined for each show in the 14th season.
* More than 132 million "Barney & Friends" books have been sold globally.
* There are 960,000 unique visitors per month to Barney's website.
* In 2009, more than 6 million games were played online and more than 3 million videos were streamed.
* Barney has given more than 2,160 hugs on "Barney & Friends."
* Barney is the No. 2 property on Sprout's Video on Demand, averaging 3.5 million downloads per month.
If you go
barney live In concert — birthday bash
What: A stage show featuring the lovable purple dinosaur and his friends performing 25 songs
Where: Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman
When: 3 p.m. Sat. and 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sun. Shows are 70 minutes long with one 15-minute intermission.
How much: Tickets $17-$52, at the arena box office or Select-A-Seat outlets. Charge by phone, 316-755-SEAT, online at www.selectaseat.com.