Dr. Seuss Carnival draws 400MITCHELL, S.D. - The annual Dr. Seuss Carnival drew approximately 400 people Saturday, which an organizer said was “one of our best turnouts” in the event’s 11-year history.
By: Laura Wehde The Daily Republic, Worthington Daily Globe
MITCHELL, S.D. - The annual Dr. Seuss Carnival drew approximately 400 people Saturday, which an organizer said was “one of our best turnouts” in the event’s 11-year history.
“I don’t know if it’s because the weather is nice or everybody is really trying to do more reading with their children,” said Kathy Budahl, of Dakota Wesleyan University.
The event, held in the Christen Family Wellness Center at DWU, offered carnival games and reading time for kids aged preschool to fifth grade. Each child in attendance received a free book. The carnival was funded by a grant from the National Education Association and was free to the public.
“We emphasized family literacy this year,” said Budahl. “My students designed games to go with the reading concepts, so it was more relevant to reading and encouraging parents to read with their children.”
In a circle formation on the floor, parents and children sat down to read a host of Dr. Seuss books before going to play carnival games. Some parents were doing the reading; others listened as their children read.
Dennis Schley and his daughter Isabel, of Mitchell, were among those immersed in a book. Isabel, 8, was happily doing most of the reading.
“I think it’s great that they have events like this for the kids,” said Dennis.
Over at a coloring activity table, Jen Van Pelt entertained a throng of kids, eager to color a picture. Van Pelt is a student teacher for third- and fourth-graders at L.B. Williams Elementary.
“I think the literacy part of (the event) is a huge thing, that we are getting the message out and getting the kids reading more at home because it really impacts the classroom reading, big time,” she said. “Also just getting the community involvement so our department can show that we are dedicated to our field and that we are passionate about teaching and learning and that we know how important reading is.”
Although Van Pelt admitted a fish-tank game was more popular than the coloring table, she was pleased to see so many people in attendance.
Carol Beasley of Sisseton stood in line for a carnival game with her two grandchildren, Jessica and Rebecca Kjerstad of Mitchell. In town babysitting, she was glad to learn about the Dr. Seuss Carnival.
“I think it’s absolutely awesome,” she said. “We did the bean-bag toss, the girls did pretty good and got some tickets, and then we got to pick out our free books. I think this is just fabulous.”
With Saturday’s weather ideal for outdoor activities, Beasley pondered the idea of just spending the day outside, but she was happy she decided to attend the carnival.
“I thought ‘well, it’s so nice outside maybe we’ll just do something else’ but we decided to come and I’m really glad we did. It’s something to do and it’s educational. The kids recognized Dr. Seuss right away and wanted to know if he had green eggs and ham for breakfast,” she said.
In the lobby, Budahl served Dr. Seuss birthday cake to a steady line of kids.
“This was definitely a smashing success,” she said. “I think it’s encouraging just seeing all of the families here and I think that everything that’s happening with the economy, you can see that people are bonding together and doing activities where they can be with their families.”