Main Street Activities Offer Dog Days Respite

Sally E. Bahner PhotoBranford merchants, with the help of the Blackstone Library and Branford Art Center, are taking part in two activities this summer to engage residents and families, and draw them to Main Street and surrounds.

StoryWalk on Main, a nationwide effort created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, is a way of combining the pleasure of reading with the joys and benefits of walking and interacting outdoors. In addition, 40 Branford merchants are joining together to encourage residents to find the Branford High School Hornet within their stores and promote their businesses.

StoryWalk On Main

Carly Lemire, youth services librarian at Blackstone Library, said the inspiration came from the Connecticut Library Conference she attended back in April. She said the theme for summer reading is music. Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and Sally Wern Comport was voted on as the favorite. “I’m hoping it’s a way for people to connect,” she said. “Families reading the same book is a way to come together.”

Katy McNicol, development and outreach librarian, assisted with the project.

Blackstone Library in conjunction with the local merchants will host a community walk for all ages along Main Street on Saturday, July 14, at 2 p.m. as part of StoryWalk. Community members can take part any time through Friday, Aug. 17. Participants for the guided, community walk should meet in front of the library, 758 Main St.

A map that can be picked up at the library is provided to the participants, which lists the lists the 19 businesses displaying pages from Ada’s Violin. The map also includes questions and activities to engage families.

Pages from Ada’s Violin are displayed within the businesses to encourage conversation and reading as a family while promoting a healthy lifestyle. The book is a true story about a small town that transformed their community’s dire predicament by creating a touring orchestra with instruments built from recycled trash.

The library has enhanced the walk by including bonus challenges at the bottom of each page. Children in kindergarten and up can pick up a StoryWalk® game board at the library or participating merchants to complete the questions, activities and discussion starters. Those who complete every challenge on the game board will be entered in for a prize drawing at summer’s end. Completed maps must be dropped off to the Blackstone Library by Saturday, Aug. 18.

For more information, call 203-488-1441, extension 323, or email clemire@blackstonelibrary.org.

Find the Branford Hornet

Branford Art Center has created a scavenger hunt to encourage merchant and community interaction. Participating merchants will display BHS Hornet logos somewhere in their businesses and residents can win gift certificates and prizes by finding them.

The hunt starts Thursday, Aug. 2, during the Branford Sidewalk Sale and participants will have until Thursday, Sept. 20, to complete a list of 35 out of 40. The winner will be announced at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, on the Branford green at the fourth annual Shoreline Harvest and Jazz Festival. (The winner must be present to win.)

Yvonne Gordon-Moser of Branford Art Center said the event “brings the community together, giving kids and adults something to do during dog days of summer.” It’s also an opportunity for everyone to come together during the art festival in September, where the grand prize winner will be announced.

She added that it also brings merchants together as well as the community and high school kids. “The PTAs will benefit completely and use it where it’s needed the most.”

Gordon-Moser said that high school kids – all kids – have been affected by what has happened. “I thought it I could support them and let know we care about them – something in the community would be a good thing. It’s also important to bring merchants together in a way that’s easy and not expensive.”

To take part, register at Branfordartcenterct.com (cost $2 per entry to benefit Branford High School PTA), then download the list of merchants, which will be posted July 30 and listed in local papers. Take a photograph with your phone of you or someone in your group with the BHS Hornet and post the photo to Instagram with the hashtag #branfordmerchants.

For more information or to register a business, email Yvonne Gordon-Moser at 1229bacgallery@gmail.com.

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