Chemung County to celebrate literacy with annual 'Book Fest'
5/21 UPDATE: Event organizers say Book Fest is being moved into First Arena, due to thunderstorms in the forecast for May 22nd.
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The Family Reading Partnership of Chemung County will be celebrating literacy this weekend through its annual Book Fest.
This year's theme, "Characters with Character," recognizes some of the reading world's most famous and beloved protagonists of children's literature.
"We wanted to highlight imagination," said coordinator Michelle Halperin. "We're also highlighting adventure, friendliness, persistence and curiousness. So we have a lot of characters that reflect those traits."
Some of those characters include Pete the Cat, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Olivia the Pig, Curious George and Winnie the Pooh.
In addition to meeting some of their favorite literary characters, children and families can participate in free, day-long activities to celebrate character education through literature. Each activity will be presented by a different organization from the community, including but not limited to Tanglewood Nature Center, the Wings of Eagles, Corning Community College, Elmira College TEACH club, STEM Academy, SPCA and Horseheads Family Resource Center.
There will also be live entertainment acts from John Simon and Cal Walker, The Ernie Davis Consortium, Mr. Jeff and New Kids on the Block puppets.
Halperin noted the event will offer a few incentives for all participating children.
"With each activity they complete, they get a stamp on a passport," she said. "If that passport has five stamps, they get to have some free ice cream."
The passport is also each child's ticket to a free book that is related to the theme "Characters with Character." Gently-used books from the Bright Red Bookshelf will additionally be available.
In a predominantly technology-based world, Halperin hopes Book Fest will reintroduce and reinforce the joys of reading to families throughout the Twin Tiers.
"It's understanding that reading is fun, and should be done as a family and as a community," she said.
Book Fest will take place Sunday, May 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Wisner Park. In the event of possible thunderstorms, Book Fest will be moved into the concourse at First Arena.
For more information, head to the Family Reading Partnership of Chemung County's website at familyreadingpartnership.org.