Education YouTuber Stevin John — known by his young fanbase as Blippi — stopped by Tenino for another visit last week to film segments for an upcoming video.
Mayor Wayne Fournier said the quirky character and his crew stopped by the Stone City from Tuesday through Saturday and were busy filming pitches he had given them after their first trip to the area last August.
During his recent visit, Blippi stopped by a local pottery shop, welder, go-kart track, construction site and the Airlift Northwest program at Olympia Regional Airport, Fournier said.
“They really appreciate filming here. There’s no crowds, the people are nice and Tenino can do really well at representing any town in America,” Fournier said, adding later: “They just kind of fell in love with that can-do attitude that we gave them, and it really went well.”
“Blippi — Educational Videos for Kids” is a channel on YouTube that follows the orange and blue clad entertainer as he learns about “vehicles, animals, the natural world and so much more.” The series helps young kids, age 2 and up, with vocabulary development and learning about the world.
The channel has accrued more than 9.5 billion views and about 12.5 million subscribers. Blippi is owned by London-based Moonbug Entertainment, but John and his crew are originally from the Puget Sound area.
Blippi’s visit last summer saw him explore the Tenino Quarry Pool, Tenino Stone Carvers and the local fire department — all from the comfort of one of the Tenino yellow bikes, offered free to the community through the Tenino Yellow Bicycle Program.
The video — “Blippi Learns and Explores The Town on a Bicycle” — was posted to YouTube on Sept. 5 and has more than 5.5 million views.
Fournier said that, after that first visit, he followed up with the channel by email and pitched some additional stops they could make if they returned.
After a winter that saw Blippi learning to make fruit popsicles and how to snowboard, he finally made a springtime return to the South Thurston County community.
“They were almost kind of taken away at how easy it was to film here as opposed to a denser area, such as L.A. or something,” Fournier said, later adding of their city-business relationship: “He’s not just a little character. People my age don’t know that he’s an international brand, and when he mentions Tenino, 20 years from now, adults are going to remember that … It’s a really good marriage for us.”
This isn’t the first time the Stone City has landed a Hollywood connection.
Back in 2017, actor Jeff Goldblum and Vice Studios filmed along Sussex Avenue in the downtown area for the 2019 indie film “The Mountain.”
The Travel Channel and Oxygen TV networks have also stopped through for filming, Fournier said. Most recently, though, Tenino and its community pitched itself to HGTV’s “Home Town Takeover” to help the city spruce up its downtown core, but Fournier said they went with another city.
Fournier said he’s hopeful Blippi will make another return soon, as there’s still some unfinished business on their list of ideas.
“I really want to get them to Wolf Haven. And South Sound Speedway. I really want to get Blippi in a racecar,” he said.