A week from now, Brayden Belanger of Johnson City will have already seen the familiar sights of New York City only to end his trip with an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. And he’s only 2 years old.
Brayden was among the ten babies chosen out of 38,000 other children to compete in “Today’s” Cutest Babies Contest. After online voting ended Sunday night, Brayden joined the ranks of four other children who will be appearing in a fashion show on the 10 a.m. segment hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on Oct. 13.
While they were excited about the prospect of heading to New York for the special trip, Phillip and Lindsey Belanger, Brayden’s parents, never expected they would actually get to go.
“We were just happy with the way things went and that he had made it that far,” Phillip said.
The Belangers had been told by “Today” producers that they would be notified Sunday night if Brayden had been chosen for the next leg of the competition.
When Sunday night came and went without a phone call from the producers, Phillip said they thought it was all over. He and Lindsey went about their Monday morning routine until they heard Brayden’s name among the final five.
“We started calling each other immediately, because we didn’t expect that to be happening. We thought there was no way he was going to make it, because we didn’t hear anything,” Phillip said.
On Oct. 11, the Belangers will be flown to New York, where they get two days to explore with Brayden before he makes his live television debut.
Trips to Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and FAO Schwarz are already in the works.
Since appearing in the Johnson City Press last week, Phillip said Brayden has been recognized when they were out and about in the community.
“He’s a little superstar now,” his dad said.
While Brayden might be too young to understand the excitement surrounding the trip, his parents are certain it’s a trip he’ll always remember.
“We’re looking forward to this trip and taking pictures and video and being able to share this with him when he’s a little older,” Phillip said.