Blue skies, a gentle breeze and children playing with their favorite storybook characters may seem like something out of a fairy tale. But for children attending Saturday's Storybook Park, the fairy tale will come to life.
The popular program, which was last presented in 2009, and previously in 2005 and 2007, is put on by the Washington County Public Library and sponsored by Marietta Kiwanis, according to library youth services manager Julie Stacy.
"Every year it grows by about 150 children," she said, noting that in 2009, attendance was more than 1,100.
The event features six books which will be read by volunteers or library staff members, and a craft that is associated with each. This year's books include "Steamboat Annie," "My Messy Closet," "Froggy Rides a Bike," "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!," "The Uglified Ducky" and "Click Clack Moo Cows That Type."
Marietta resident and Kiwanis member Louise Holmes will also present her book, "Miss Sadie and the Good Life." Holmes wrote and self-published the story about eight years ago at the request of a friend and the sale of the books went to benefit Fort Frye High School, where her grandchildren attended.
"It is the true story of a pot-bellied pig and her friend, Ahab the horse," she said.
If you go
What: Storybook Park presented by the Washington County Public Library and sponsored by Marietta Kiwanis.
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Muskingum Park, 300 block of Front Street.
Details: Open to all children and families; no cost to attend; children through third grade will receive a free book; families are asked to register and are eligible to win prizes; refreshments will be available for purchase; a take-home craft will be made at each station.
Some upcoming Summer Reading programs offered at the Washington County Public Library include:
Fancy Nancy Party, June 25 at 10 a.m., for ages 6 to 10.
Wishes, June 26 at 2 p.m., for ages 6 to 8.
Be Careful What You Wish For, July 9 at 10:30 a.m., for ages 8 to 12.
Pajama Party July 14 at 11 a.m., for ages 2 to 6.
Art Party, July 16 at 10 a.m., for ages 7 to 12.
Planetarium Tour, July 17 at 6 p.m. at Marietta College, for children and parents.
Zumba July 21 at 11 a.m., for ages 7 to 12.
For information and to sign up: 373-1057 ext. 219.
"Miss Sadie and the Good Life"
To purchase copies of the book by Louise Holmes, and illustrated by Deborah Jones, contact Holmes at 373-6586.
Holmes will have copies of the book for sale at a special price of $5 for the event and will even sign them.
Fundraisers such as Kiwanis Pancake Days, held each February, help the group to sponsor such things as Storybook Park, Key Club at Marietta and Frontier high schools, the Bringing Up Grades program at Phillips Elementary and local landscaping and improvement projects. This year's event raised about $20,000.
"This is exactly why we have Pancake Days," said Linda Eddy, Kiwanis secretary and Storybook Park coordinator. "Part of the mission of Kiwanis is to help children and sponsor literacy programs."
Eddy said that about $5,000 is given to put on the event and it goes toward the many door prizes, crafts and roughly 675 books that will be given away.
Children in third grade and younger will receive a free book when they register. A table will be located on the sidewalk leading to the "Start Westward" monument. There will also be chances to win baskets full of goodies.
"We just love doing it," Eddy said. "It's a wonderful event and it's free family fun."
Dustin Maxon of Marietta, whose wife, Kate, works for the library and will be coordinating the volunteers, plans to take his four children to the event again this year.
"Our children get read to every single night," he said. "We are looking forward to it. It's a really fun event and they (at the library) have been working hard on it."
The couple's sons, Ethan, 10, Asher, 7, and Owen, 4, have been to the event in the past. This will be the first year for baby sister Ella, 16 months.
Two of the boys love to read to themselves and are especially looking forward to a couple of the books at Saturday's event.
"The 'Pigeon' books are favorites and 'Froggy,' too," Maxon said.
The library kicked off its Summer Reading Program at the end of May and events to be held throughout the summer include Story Hour for youngsters, learning about each of the American Girls and special themed programs like a Pajama Party, a trip to the planetarium and Zumba.