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Culpeper's winter treats for families
You say you want a revolution? March to the family-friendly sound of the Diggity Dudes.
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BY COLLETTE CAPRARA
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
The folks at Culpeper Renaissance host a spectrum of family-friendly events and activities throughout the year to ensure that the town's historic district continues to thrive as a vibrant community and tourist destination. Their winter agenda includes two dynamic family concerts and a daylong carnival, and clearly measures up to that mission.
Culpeper's "Wintertainment" concerts are dubbed "Snow Much Fun" and feature performers who have a longstanding and heartfelt commitment to provide musical fun that will engage both children and their parents.
This Saturday, the Diggity Dudes will take the stage at Culpeper's historic Depot with a performance of rollicking, rambunctious rhythm that will have the crowds on their feet and dancing.
In fact, the seeds of the group took root five years ago when two lifelong buddies and new dads, Donny Atkins and Mike Hartsfield, decided to apply their musical talents to write songs for kids that would not grate on parents' ears--or nerves.
"At the time, we had no intention of forming a band or making a record but were just writing for our kids with songs about things in their everyday life, such as brushing your teeth and cleaning your room, including one called 'Don't Bite Your Buddy,'" said Atkins (Diggity Donny).
When other musicians heard their first songs, they encouraged them to write more. Three other friends joined the group and, as their children became school-age, a bevy of prospective topics came home in their backpacks. One of these, "My Science Project," became the title song for the Dudes' critically acclaimed debut album that was released in 2010.
Today, with high-energy numbers such as "The President's Presidential Fitness Test," the band plays over 100 shows a year and hosts an annual daylong Diggityfest that has attracted more than 4,000 participants.
"All our songs have two things in common," said Atkins. "They all carry a message and they all have an element of humor, so kids will remember it."
The following month, families will be treated to the talents of Peter McCory, the loveable, engaging one-man band whose CDs have won national awards. A lifelong musician, McCory discovered the irresistible draw of a children's audience 15 years ago when he played guitar for a children's health day at a local hospital.
What: "Snow Much Fun" concerts When: Diggity Dudes: Saturday, Feb. 2. Peter McCory: Saturday, March 2. Concerts will be held 5-6 p.m. Where: The Depot, 109 Commerce St., Culpeper Cost: $5 per person Upcoming: Downtown Mardi Gras Carnival, Saturday, Feb. 9. A daylong celebration. Info: 540/825-4416; culpeperdowntown.com