Free, one-day pass to Sesame still Classic’s best attraction

It’s been around since the last century but it never gets old.

We’re talking about the free, one-day admission ticket to Sesame Place that every participant in the Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic receives when they register.

Thousands of happy runners have enjoyed the famous theme park in Middletown Township/Langhorne since the race’s inception in 1999.

The 21st running of the KHSPC is scheduled for Sunday, May 19, starting at 7 a.m.

The schedule features a 5K race, a one-mile fun run/walk and a 50-yard kids’ sprint.

Proceeds from the race go to the Dick Dougherty Scholarship Fund to assist Bucks County high school college-bound seniors.

Over the past 20 years, more than $400,000 has been raised for this worthy cause.

The free pass to Sesame has become a tradition. Many people go to the park on race day.

“One of the best parts of the Classic, compared to other races, is that it is truly the most family-friendly event in which most runners have participated,’’ said Jill Gilardi, who is director of the Classic’s registration.

“We see families year after year – their children grow a bit each year, maybe their favorite Sesame character changes, but the race is the same. Their memories of doing the race with their family or school group last forever.’’

Like Gilardi, Kiwanis Club president Mary Berman marvels at all the smiling faces upon the race’s conclusion, with small children anxious to do all the activities which Sesame has to offer.

“Running in the Sesame Classic is a sensational family affair,’’ Berman said.

“If you are a participant in the race and afterward you feel you earned a time to rest, there is no better way to relax and enjoy yourself than by spending a free, fun-filled day at Sesame Place.’’

Race co-director Ernie Nocito has seen the race and the day at Sesame become an event which attracts people of all ages and from far and wide.

“The Classic continues to grow, drawing seasoned veteran, beginner and new runners each year,’’ Nocito said. “It is a great event bringing so many from the community and, even further away, together for such a positive fun day.

“One of the bonus highlights for everybody, young and old, is when the Sesame characters visit and mingle with the crowd.  I must say this even brings out the kid in me.’’

Registration is open now at

“It is strongly suggested that runners pre-register early,’’ Nocito said, “to guarantee  they receive the official 21st annual Sesame Place Classic Collector’s Edition T-shirt. This event is unique that it has so much to offer the participants.  Not only will all runners will be awarded a finisher’s medal, every registered runner of every age will receive a free admission to Sesame Place.’’

Kiwanis’ Dixie Rhodes oversees the scholar-athlete program, including the organizing of the annual awards banquet, which will be held on Wednesday night, May 22 at the Bucks County Sheraton Hotel.

“The Classic is one of my favorite races,’’ Rhodes said. “It’s a combination of serious competition intertwined with a wholesome family outing.

“There is room for all levels (5K, 1-mile, kids’ race) of competitors. Participants get a free Sesame pass and where else can you hang out with a Sesame character or two, peruse a fire truck (courtesy of Middletown Twp.-Langhorne Fire Dept.) or just hang out with family and friends?’’

It promises to be a special day.

This is the 35th anniversary of Sesame Place, and the 50th anniversary of the Sesame Street television show, where the magic all began.

“Sesame is great for everybody, from toddlers to adults,’’ Gilardi said. “There are rides and characters for everyone.’’


Race calendar



Fourth annual Newtown Shamrock Shuffle 5K, 9 a.m., Newtown. Contact

Sunday, March 24

Ryan Strong 5K, Fairless Hills. Contact

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About Wayne Fish 2471 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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