If in the last 22 years, you lived on the SouthCoast and have little ones, chances are excellent you know the attraction that the Toe Jam Puppet Band generates.

"Vinnie and I love playing for children, and the kids come to every gig ready to dance and rock 'n roll," expressed Tom Poitras, co-founder, along with Vinnie Lovegrove, of the famous Toe Jam Puppet Band.

"When we first started out, Tom and I wanted the kids to know we were on their side, so we did something that was a little more whacky and irreverent," Lovegrove said. "I'm the silly emcee and puppeteer performer and Tom is the musician and incredible song writer, and because I don't do what Tom does, it still has stayed magic for us after all these years. It's amazing!"

Musician and singer Chris Waters will pitch in with the band this Friday, New Year's Eve, for New Bedford Celebrates, playing at 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. outside the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, located at 38 Bethel Street.

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When asked what kind of singer do you need to carry off children's tunes, Poitras mused, "Not much of one!"

For Poitras, he was a late bloomer, waiting until college to play music actively.

"My grandfather was a great storyteller and my dad always loved to sing. I had my first child in my 40s and a lot of my early songs were inspired by my children," he said.

Today, he writes music regularly about bugs, outer space or car seats. If they had to choose a couple of their most popular songs, it would be "Green Light A Go Go," that kids request at every performance, and "Baby, It's You," about an actual baby.

"This winter, with COVID and everything, we had to move the Monday morning entertainment from Buttonwood Park Zoo to the spacious Fort Taber Community Center, thanks to Mary Raposa at Parks and Recreation, along with Kelly, who works with her," Poitras said. "We've been having fun for over two decades. The longevity has just astounded me, and it's because I have a great partner with Vinnie."

Was there anyone in particular they wanted to thank for their support over the years?

"Quinn and Terry Sullivan have been so good and very generous to us. I forget at what point, early on, the Toe Jam Puppet Band was even mentioned in an interview Quinn gave to Rolling Stone magazine," Poitras said.

To Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show's letdown, the Toe Jam Puppet Band may not have made it to the cover of the Rolling Stone, but it's close enough for government-work.

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