Fast-food celebrity makes visit

Published 6:57 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An international celebrity was well-received at Banfield Elementary Tuesday morning.

Ronald McDonald himself popped into the Austin school yesterday, before heading to Southgate Elementary in the afternoon for stops on his whirlwind “Friendship Tour.”

“Are you ready for a good show,” the tall clown, decked out in face paint and red and yellow overalls, asked a gymnasium full of captive first- through fifth-grade students.

After hearing the room of kids scream “Yeah!” in unison, music began and the fast-food restaurant mascot-superstar opened his show with a few magic tricks.

Courtesy Corporation, which has owned two Austin McDonald’s restaurants since October, organized and sponsors the Minnesota Ronald McDonald tour that also included stops in the Kasson-Mantorville and Rochester districts.

Banfield principal Jayne Gibson said her students were excited about the visit Tuesday.

“It’s another example of a community partnership. McDonald’s is doing this at no cost to the schools… it’s a fun, educational experience for the kids,” Gibson said.

Courtesy Corporation marketing manager Dawn Burns said the company organizes the tours each year and brings them to different communities.

“Ronald McDonald uses music and magic to grab their attention and then talk about something important,” Burns said.

Past educational tours have focused on being active, reading and recycling, she said.

This year, Banfield and Southgate kids learned about friendship and respect from the real-life cartoon character.

“I’m traveling all over the world on my friendship adventure,” he told students, before an interactive music-driven presentation ripe with anecdotes on kindness and respect.

Ronald even, perhaps inadvertently, mixed in a lesson about it being OK to make mistakes, too.

“Have you ever done a trick that didn’t work out?” he asked the forgiving kids when a black scarf failed to magically morph into one covered by the world’s colorful flags. “Well, that’s OK too.”