A carnival last week featured acrobats, games, balloon animals and, most importantly, a lot of books.
On Friday, Sharon Forks and Post Road libraries hosted their annual Summer Reading Kick-Off Carnival at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College. Earlier in the week, Cumming and Hampton Park libraries held carnivals of their own.
“We combined both of our branches’ carnivals together because we have so many people come to these each year. We thought the conference center would be a better place to host it,” said Lisa Echols with Post Road. “We’ve had around 1,600 people come and join us.”
The event featured obstacle courses, balloon animals, carnival-like games and performances by acrobatic group Barely Balanced.
Sharon Forks’ Cleo Joyce, who was wearing a hard hat and safety vest, said this year’s theme was “Build a Better World.”
“We also have Lego corner where kids can create and build and be creative,” she said. “We also have some crafts going on around our theme.”
The carnival also gave kids a chance to sign up for a summer reading list with the library to avoid the “summer slide.”
“Our big goal is to keep kids reading all the way from little bitties up to high school students, and even adults can join,” Echols said. “We want to keep people reading all summer long.
“For students, it’s really important that they read at least six books over the summer, because if they do it’s going to keep them from having that dreaded summer reading slide where they lose some of the smarts they already gained in the school year.”
Students can register at libraries or online. Registration is open all summer and students can get prizes, their names on a wall at the library and other items for reaching goals by Aug. 6.
Echols said the carnival was one of many fun activities scheduled this summer at the libraries.
“We’ve got amazing programs all summer long,” she said. “Everything from movie days … we’ll have wild animals that will be there, magicians, musicians, whatever it is. We’ve got great programs for all ages.”
Susan Wright, who was at the event with her daughters, Lily, 8, and Piper, 6, said they went to the Hampton Park carnival the day before and have been in years past. She said the event was a good way to get kids excited about reading.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s a great way for the parents to get the kids out of the house, get them engaged in doing something together, promote reading and do it all for free.”