Wake ForestChristmas Parade Saturday, December 9, 1 p.m. Historic Downtown Wake Forest Santa, ponies, clowns, floats, bands and almost 2,000 people will march in Downtown Wake Forest this weekend for the 2006 Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 9th at 1:00 P.M.. The Downtown Revitalization Corporation (D.R.C.) that produces the parade is expecting over 10,000 spectators to gather along the parade route. This year’s parade will have over 15 floats, four local marching bands, 60 general entry groups, and ten dignitaries including this year’s Grand Marshall, Hugh McLean – Director of the Wake Forest Boy’s and Girl’s Club, as well as Mayor Vivian A. Jones, former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake and WRAL personality, Kim Deaner to name a few. Special characters marching in the parade this year are Stormy, the Hurricane’s mascot, Cotton the Clown and Muddy the Mudcat.
THE COTTONS IN THE "RALEIGH WIDE OPEN" PARADE, 2007
One little girl gets wish of a lifetime 12/16/2005 7:43 PM By: News 14 Carolina Staff
(RALEIGH) -- One little girl got the wish of a lifetime Friday in Raleigh.
Kiara Mack, 9, is getting every little princess's wish, a trip to Walt Disney World.
Kiara is visually impaired and suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation surprised Kiara with a Disney-themed party Friday.
Kiara, her 11-year-old brother Patrick and the rest of her family will all make the trip.
The foundation's generosity left Kiara's mother, Shukairo Townsend, a bit speechless.
"The fact that somebody would take the time to do something like this, it's just an honor in and of itself,” she said. “So I'm just shocked. I really don't know what to say, but I’m happy, very happy."
Kiara and her family will head down to Florida on the 19th and will spend Christmas with Mickey and Minnie
SOME N&O ARTICLES ON COTTON
Please note that the following are archived articles and may not reflect
Cotton's current performance schedule and fees.
COTTON IN THE NEWS...
The News & Observer
Friday, June 21, 2002
(an excerpt from longer article)
Forbes.com gave Raleigh its newest in a long line of "best of" honors recently. This time the category was "best place for singles," and Raleigh-Durham ranked fourth behind Boston; Austin, Texas; and Washington-Baltimore area.
Now this news has some people saying,"You're kiddin," but as a fan of the City of Oaks, I'm inclined to believe it has merit. To be honest, the criteria wasn't heavily weighted in the entertainment column- our low cost of living and job growth did us well.
Still, Raleigh is rife with cool things for singles to do with their peers, regardless of age. Here are some North Raleigh activities, divided into life stages.
Babies and Toddlers-
Visit COTTON THE CLOWN from: 11 to 11:30 Wednesdays at [a local coffee shop]; 6:30-7 p.m. Thursdays at The Garden Gate on East Wait Avenue in Wake Forest; and 10 to 10:30 a.m. Fridays at Jumpin' Jupiters on Spring Forest Road. (Note: Cotton is actually a plaiin-clothed songstress at these gigs.)
Staff writer Melissa Draper can be reached at 836-4951 or MDraper@newsobserver.com
ON YOUR OWN
Cotton Dean, Life of the Party and Signs of the Times
The News & Observer
Sunday, September 13, 1998
Cotton Dean, [above], leads a group of toddlers, including Elliot Martin, 2, in song and dance.
By Mollie McGinn, Staff writer
Life of the Party Family Entertainment Company and Signs of the Tmes; 872-0400
Life of the Party Family Entertainment Company provides miscellaneous creative entertainment, from birthday party clowns and magicians to practical jokes and singing telegrams. Signs of the Times rents large painted wooden storks for display and birth announcements.
How it all began:
In 1990, Patricia Cotton-Dean found herself the ringmaster of an emotional circus. after moving with her family back to Raleigh from Washington, D.C., her husband left, she gave birth to a third child, and her mother died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Cotton says of that time: "To look at the future was terrifying."
Supporting herself and three children with money her husband provided in a separation agreement, she got a job at Oscar's Dance Club in Raleigh, helping with catering and deejaying dances.
After six months she says she left when management complained about calls to her children. Determined not to raise her children over the phone, she decided to find a better way. "I didn't have the time or the luxury to go back to school, and if I couldn't do something I absolutely loved, I knew I would have been miserable," Cotton says.
She had a degree in Fine Arts from the NC School of the arts in Winston Salem and started making signs for local businesses and restaurants. The signs eventually gave way to the wooden stork business. After volunteering with Artsplosure, she was hired to direct several of its projects, including the children's celebration, and performing at both Artsplosure and Raleigh's First NIght. She was the featured artist-in-residence for Artsplosure 1994, with her artwork being seloected from the event to be permanently displayed at the United Arts Council offices.
She also worked with the Duke Humor Mobile, which performs for ill patients.
One thing leads to another:
As she worked for Artsplosure and did her volunteer work, Cotton would meet someone who needed a face-painting clown for an executive party, and she'd take the job. There she would meet someone planning a children's birthday party who needed a magician who could make balloon animals. So she taught herself how to make balloon animals and started investing in magic tricks. She made and bought clown suits and snowman costumes and while driving from party to party, would change from a Power Ranger to Pocahontas to the fairty godmother.
Singing eventually became a part of the show, and Cotton started playing coffeehouses- "a sort of stand-up comedy for at-home parents," as she describes it.
A turning point:
About three years ago, Cotton was driving on U.S. 70 and changing into a tuxedu costume, for a singing telegram when she kicked her gearshift into reverse. Stuck on the median, she walked-tuxedo and all- to a phone booth to call for help.
It was then that she decided that it isn't the costume you wear but the quality of the show that matters. "They forget the costume in the first three minutes," she says. "Now they hire me for the show I put on."
A typical day:
Cotton does three to five shows a day, performing in Raleigh, durham, Louisburg and Wake Forest. For professional music performances, she charges $95.00 for the first hour and $75.00 for each additional hour. Every performance is custom-created, drawing from her repertoire of balloon animal-artist, face-painter, music storyteller and practical joker. Singing telegrams are $60.00 per performance.
"I have to act like everything is wonderful no matter what's going on in my personal life. I'd go to be the fairy godmother and cry while driving to the next party."
Cotton drew on her artistic slant on life to get through the hard times. "I've learned to pray a lot and trust God more," she says. "When I don't trust God, I mess up."
On Your Own Is written by Mollie McGinn.
NEWS & OBSERVER North Raleigh
Friday, January 26, 2001
AUDIENCES COTTON TO MUSICAL CLOWN by Melissa Draper, staff writer
Raleigh- Parrotheads have Jimmy Buffett, and Deadheads had Jerry Garcia. Equally loyal "Cottonheads" have a 40-something mother of three whom they have been following around Raleigh for years.
The woman known about town as "Cotton the Clown" is actually Tricia Cotton-Dean. She does normal clown gigs like magic shows, birthday parties and singing telegrams, but her celebrity stems from the live guitar singalongs she performs- plainclothed-at area businesses.
One of her most popular venues is [an area coffee shop], where she has been taking center stage two mornings a week for the past six years.
"We come Tuesdays, we come Fridays, we follow her all around Raleigh and everywhere she goes," said Lauren Richardson of North Raleigh, who sat in on the Caribou show with three of her children Tuesday morning. "We literally find out where she's going to be, and we go there.
"All my kids enjoy it, and I've always been amazed at this level of entertainment for free."
What Dean, who goes by Cotton, does is simple: She strums her red acoustic guitar and sings. What the crowd does is equally simple: It goes wild.
The kids - mostly toddlers and preschoolers - dance, clap, sing and play toy instruments they bring with them. A few boys and girls usually congregate at Cotton's feet or make their way on stage where they can share in her limelight.
"We call it the little baby mosh pit when all the little kids start dancing and getting down," said JoAnn Cabaniss of North Raleigh, who has been taking her 22 - month - old daughter, Casety, to see Cotton regularly for the past six months.
The children aren't the only ones who participate in Cotton's interactve performances. The parents - moms mostly, with a few dads in the mix - do the same, often with as much enthusiasm as their little ones.
"You can't help but sing when you come in," Richardson said. "It's like a phenonomenon."
Cotton's repetoire consists of standbys her fans know well, such as "Itsly Bitsy Spider" and "You Are My Sunshine." Some of her songs are also Christian-based, such as "This Little Light of Mine" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." It was when she added the Christian music about a year ago that her following really grew.
"It has just taken off like crazy," Cotton said. "That catapulted me into [being], like, famous."
Cotton likes to keep the crowd guessing, though, so she'll interject lyrics of her own. They tend to make kids giggle, just because they're wrong, and to make parents smile, because they're right on target.
For instance, during Tuesday's show she somehow managed to work "eat all your vegetables and clean up your room" into a verse of "If You're Happy and You Know It."
About 100 visitors squeezed into the dining room for that performance. Store manager Mike Perry said he's seen bigger crowds.
"In the summer it's even worse. We have chairs all lined up here," he said, gesturing to the area near the coffee counter.
Perry doesn't mind the commotion, though. He's happy to pay Cotton in order to keep the children and their parents happy.
A lot of mothers will come back and show their appreciation," he explained. They often stop in later, saying, "'I don't have the kids now, so I can come in and enjoy my mocha,'" he added.
One business ended Cotton's gigs because it thought the mess the kids made wasn't worth the amount of money their parents spent.
Cotton said some places are just too rigid for the kind of gathering she draws, and that is OK. Right now her schedule is working out just fine. She is booked at Caribou on Tuesdays and Fridays; Cafe Carolina on Strickland Road on Wednesdays; and Cafe Carolina in Cameron Village and Kids' Town in Cary on Thursdays.
"The whole [point] is for people to come to my shows and be able to relax," she said. "I just want people to come and be uplifted."
Cotton got her start performing about eight years ago, after a divorce left her the main supporter for her family. Clowning at corporate events and private parties offered a flexible schedule that allowed her to be home with her children when they needed her, she said, which was her first priority.
She still performs at special functions and delivers singing telegrams - sometimes with her standard poodle, "Cotton" who is dyed pink. But her half-hour singalongs are what have made her a familiar face in public.
"It's a blessing to be doing what I do," Cotton said. "People are always telling me they love me, their children love me."
Richardson's group falls into that category. Her four children, ages 1 through 7, have seen Cotton so many times at Caribou that they think the two go hand-in-hand.
Morgan Richardson, 7, doesn't remember getting onstage with Cotton to sing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" when she was 2, but the memories still bring a smile to her mom's face.
"We hope [Cotton] continues to come here until everyone is grown up," Lauren Richardson said.
News & Observer March 30, 2001 BETWEEN YOU & ME: Local fans love their local acts Thad Ogburn, Editor ------------------------------------- Longing for a sense of community amid North Raleigh's grind? Try taking in a performance of "Cotton the Clown," aka Tricia Cotton-Dean. Cotton, profiled in the North Raleigh News in January, is ostensibly a children's entertainer. But don't tell that to the large number of adults who enjoy her act. Every Tuesday night this month, she has attracted crowds to the Borders Books and Music store on southern Six Forks Road. Kids join in the singing, while their parents sip lattes and chat with neighbors.
The shows had a community feeling to them. But it's one that could be in danger- at least at Borders. As our Dawn Wotapka reported, the chain just dropped its community relations workers from individual stores. There now are regional coordinators who book events for all stores in an area- North Carolina's is based in Cary and handles stores as far away as Charlotte. A Borders official says it seeks quality, not quantity, with events. So where does that leave Cotton and other performers with a local following? Well, they really need to catch the attention of the powers that be. That's why Cotton hopes for a big crowd at Tuesday's 6:30 p.m. show.
If you want community events to stay in the community, consider going to show support. ------------------------------------------- Editor Thad Ogburn can be reached at 829-8987 or email@example.com
Bear Rock Café Partners with Wake County to Support Children in Foster Care, 9/3/2004
Other SHARE A BEAR events at the Bear Rock Café in the Crossroads Plaza include a September 19 appearance by Cotton the Clown and fire safety tips from District 2 Fire Station in Cary from 5 to7 p.m. On September 26, children and their parents can learn healthy eating habits through an "Eating Right" presentation by the N.C. Department of Agriculture, from 5 to 6 p.m., along with martial arts demonstrations by White Tiger Gym and Face Painting by Cory, from 5 to 7 p.m. Visit www.bearrockfoods.com for more information.
Triangle area Bear Rock Cafés, all of which are participating in the SHARE A BEAR campaign,
RAIFA is very active in local community service in the greater Raleigh area. Our community service efforts are lead by Robyn Boyd, Chairperson for Community Service for the Raleigh Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (RAIFA). Annually, RAIFA, produces a Halloween and Christmas party for the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford, North Carolina. This year we had the wonderful opportunity to have " Cotton the Clown " ". She did face painting, made balloon animals, and sang karaoke with the children. A special thanks to "Cotton"! We also help cook dinner at the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill, and participate in and solicit donations for the "Walk for Life" in Raleigh.
WRAL-FM Bunny Festival Hops Into Town
WRAL-FM will sponsor its annual Bunny Festival on Saturday, March 19, 2005 from 10am to 1pm, at Pullen Park in Raleigh. Presented by Crabtree Valley Mall, this year’s Bunny Festival features all kinds of free family fun, including a magic show, Cotton the Clown, a juggler, kids’ karaoke, arts and crafts, caricature artists, Ole King Cole and the Queen of Arts with games, face-painting and balloon art, and more. The Morehead Planetarium Science Center and the NC Museum of Natural Science will be on hand, too. So bring the whole family and join in the fun.
Roomful of hope
B Y R I C K C O R N E L L
Life in the music world, at least for its more fortunate inhabitants, offers opportunities for both rewards and rewarding experiences. The name Roomful of Blues has been registered in the music world for 36 years now, expertly creating what guitarist/band leader Chris Vachon describes (after having a five-word limit imposed upon him) as, "jumpin', swingin', butt-rockin', dancin' blues." (Yes, "butt-rockin'" qualifies as one word.) Those efforts have netted the Providence, Rhode Island-based band a fistful of W.C Handy Blues Awards.
February 11, 2004
M U S I C S P O T L I G H T
Last Sunday, the band was edged out of a Grammy by Buddy Guy in the Best Traditional Blues Album category. The nominated album, That's Right!, mixes songs from such fairly well-known names, at least in blues--and R&B--conscious circles, as T-Bone Walker, Elmore James, and Little Milton with obscure jump-blues tunes rescued from wherever it is that obscure jump-blues tunes are held captive. If, like me, your knowledge of jump blues pretty much begins and ends with Jumpin' Jive, Joe Jackson's celebration of Louis Jordan, then the Roomful of Blues catalog is the place to turn for earning continuing education credits. Of course, jump blues is only one part of the curriculum."We like to think that we cover much of the genre," Vachon says. Now in his 14th year with Roomful of Blues, Vachon falls third in the current line-up behind trumpeter Bob Enos with 23 years and alto and tenor sax man Rich Lataille with 35 years. In that period, Lataille has had more than 50 bandmates and played on more than 20 albums, including recordings backing genuine legends such as Big Joe Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, and Earl King.
But sometimes it can be the actions that occur outside the limelight that have the most impact. On Feb. 15, Roomful of Blues will be in the Triangle for an event a bit less star-studded than the Grammies, but arguably much more enriching. "It's an honor," offers Vasson. "We can't wait to play Bella's Ballroom Bop."
"Bella" is Annabella Terenzi, a four-year-old from Apex who was born with a spinal cord injury that left her with no feeling or muscular control below her waist. Bella's parents, Lenny and Karen, have enrolled her in a therapy program created by actor Christopher Reeve and the physicians he's been working with since he was paralyzed in a horseback-riding accident. The program involves specialized equipment and a great deal of traveling--areas where the Terenzis have encountered some obstacles. "We got our second round of denials for our insurance claims, and I wasn't about to go through a third round," explains Lenny Terenzi. "Every once in a while, in a fit of anger we'd say, 'Well, if insurance isn't going to pay for it, we'll do it ourselves.' So we finally just decided to do it ourselves."
Out of that decision, Bella's Ballroom Bop was born. The idea to organize a music show came naturally to Terenzi, a veteran musician who played guitar in the late Mighty Lester & the Blues Kings and now leads Hi-Fi Royale.
Picking the headliner for the show came just as naturally. Roomful was an obvious choice, Terenzi says. "Because if they'd do it, that pushes it into the big time." The relationship between Terenzi and Roomful of Blues began a few years back when he sent an e-mail to Vachon to ask about some chords in a song that the band had recorded. "I was a fan first," recalls Terenzi. Then Terenzi, a home-based Web and graphic designer, learned of a management change in the band and cold-emailed Vachon to ask if he could take on their Web site pro bono. After meeting with the band at a show in Virginia, he signed on as their Web guy and became friends with the band.
While raising funds is obviously a goal for Bella's Bop, raising awareness is another. Along with the swing dance lessons and visits from Cotton the Clown--this is a family event, with no smoking and no alcoholic beverages--information will be shared about the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and Clay Aiken's Bubel/Aiken Foundation.
When Roomful of Blues recorded That's Right! at Raleigh's Osceola Studios, Vachon and the rest of the band got to meet Karen and Annabella, and it was impossible not to be charmed. "Karen is such a nice person, and Annabella is such a smart, beautiful child," he says. "It's really great for us to feel that we have a part in helping her and her family, and hope it helps them get the care Annabella needs."
Tickets to Bella's Ballroom Bop with Roomful of Blues and Hi-Fi Royalle cost $15, children under 16 get in for free. www.bellasbop.com