Carefree kids darted through a spray of water shooting from an open fire hydrant, slurped ice cream and flipped through stacks of books Thursday during a program designed to reward them for reading.
Park Day, put on by the Lincoln County Public Library and co-sponsored by Lincolnton-Lincoln County Parks and Recreation Department, was held at Betty G. Ross Park Thursday morning.
The event is for kids who have completed the libraryâ€™s summer reading program, said childrenâ€™s librarian Stephanie Osborne.
â€œThis is kind of like the blow out at the end of the summer before school starts,â€ Osborne said, while scooping chocolate and vanilla swirl into a cup.
More than 700 kids took part in the program this year, Osborne said. The East Lincoln Library Branch also held its own program, and together the two drew more than 2,000 kids.
During the summer, children are supposed to read for one hour each week. Theyâ€™re rewarded with prizes, Osborne said.
Aleshia Harris, 7, said she read 140 books during the summer.
One of the best ones, she said, was â€œThe Best Day of My Life,â€ a book about horses.
â€œI like it (reading) because Iâ€™ve always like to read since I was little,â€ Aleshia said. â€œMy mom used to read to me.â€
Cole Sours, 12, said he likes reading because he â€œlearns a bunch of stuff.â€
His favorites are mysteries.
â€œI like seeing things start coming together and how they put everything together and then you find out who did it,â€ he said.
During Park Day, Lincolnton firefighters opened the hydrant to cool off the rambunctious kids, who limboed through the mist of water. Others bounced around on the Moonwalk provided by the YMCA.
Osbourne said the goal of the reading program is to help children develop an interest in reading and keep that interest throughout their lives.
â€œI hope it makes them want to stay lifelong library patrons,â€ she said. â€œReading is important, and if we can make it fun, thatâ€™s whatâ€™s important.â€
by Alice Smith