Spring Into Reading Festival set for April 28

By Thomas Boni
Daphne Bulletin Editor
Posted 4/16/07

DAPHNE — The Daphne Public Library will present its Ninth Annual Spring Into Reading Children’s Festival on Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, at the Library and Recreation Complex. Admission is free.

The festival, sponsored by the Friends …

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Spring Into Reading Festival set for April 28


DAPHNE — The Daphne Public Library will present its Ninth Annual Spring Into Reading Children’s Festival on Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m, at the Library and Recreation Complex. Admission is free.

The festival, sponsored by the Friends of the Daphne Public Library and a grant from the Alabama Council on the Humanities, will include several activities for children.

Featured guests will include:

* Author Timothy Weeks, with tales from his book, “The Wise Mullet of Cook Bayou;”

* Deborah Ferguson — also known as “the Dancing Story Lady,” with a presentation on how the ocean got its waves; and

* Leslie L. Spradlin, author of “The Sunglass Kid”

Children also will have the chance for close encounters with wildlife, she said.

Gulf State Park’s nature center “will bring some live critters,” and representatives from an alligator farm in Summerdale will bring baby alligators for display, Melissa Ott, children’s librarian, said.

Most of the activities at this year’s festival will share a bond: the sea.

The event’s theme, “Reading for Treasures,” comes from a new addition to the library, according to Ott.

“It was kind of to coordinate with the Bay Rivers Art Guild. They donated their talents once again to the library and they painted a series of murals for our juniors section.”

Last year, a number of artists from BRAG, a Daphne organization, painted scenes from popular books on the walls of the library’s children’s section.

“They came back this spring and they took large canvases and they each chose different books with an underwater theme or a sea theme” for the murals, Ott said.

“We have six of them up right now and they are just beautiful,” she said, adding that the murals depict scenes from books such as ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “Treasure Island” and “Dinotopia.”

In keeping with the underwater theme, the festival also will feature sea-related arts and crafts, along with carnival games.

“They can make jellyfish windsocks and rainbow fish sand bracelets," Ott said.

Kids can play games such as the “octopus ring toss,” pineapple bowling and a treasure dig for coins — all activities coordinated by local volunteers, she said.

“Every game that they play, there’s prizes lined up for them to win,” Ott added. “They can win pirate eye patches, little shark squirters, fish whistles.”

Splash, a steel drum band, will provide entertainment at the event, Ott said.

The Spring Into Reading Festival began nine years ago, thanks to library director Tonja Young.

“A friend of mine and I came up with the idea,” Young said. “We wanted to have storytellers and arts and crafts and games for the kids and people dressed up as characters walking around; and so we did all of that and every year, we found something new to make it better or make it more fun for the kids.”

About 1,500 people attended the first festival, but recent years have attracted nearly twice that number, according to Young.

“In the beginning it was mostly moms and kids and now it’s gotten to where a lot of the dads will come with them and it’s kind of a family activity,” Young said.

“I think the firemen and the policemen enjoy it just as much as we do because they’re always here to show off the city’s fire engine and the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) car.

“It’s just a really good time for everybody. The kids get their faces painted and they have balloons and we just have a good time.”


Staff Report

DAPHNE — Children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade have until Friday to enter art and poetry contests that will coincide with the Daphne Public Library's Spring Into Reading Festival.

“We accept any kind of drawings in pencil or ink, paintings and watercolor or acrylics, mixed media or three-dimensional art, and we have it broken down in age divisions,” Melissa Ott, children’s librarian said.

First, second and third place, best of show overall and honorable mentions will be awarded to aspiring artists in seven divisions: pre-kindergarten and kindergarten; first and second grade; third and fourth grade; fifth and sixth grade; seventh and eighth grade; ninth and 10th grade; and 11th and 12th grade.

All artwork, regardless of winner status, will be displayed at the reading festival on April 28, Ott said.

Three poetry prizes for each age group will be awarded in the same divisions; Three overall winners will receive medals, Ott said, adding that winners can read their poems during the reading festival.

Submissions must be original, and library officials want the subject to relate to reading for treasures and the festival’s under the sea theme, Ott said.

For more details, call the library at 621-2818.