Kids cuddle with Corduroy
Page Commons was bustling on
Saturday, March 7 with a younger
crowd than usual for the Colby Bookstore's
14th annual Kid's Character
event. Although this springtime event
is free to the public, tickets must be
reserved in advance due to its overwhelming
popularity. Attendance is
capped at 600 people.
This year featured Corduroy, the beloved bear in the green overalls. Corduroy was created in 1968 by American author Don Freeman. In the original story, Corduroy lives in a department store and goes searching for his missing button.
Since then, the bear has been the star of many more tales. "We try to pick the character that fits our format the best," Bookstore Director Barbara Shutt said of the process for selecting Corduroy. "We want to find a character that we can build an event around, as well as someone that will be appealing to the kids."
In the past the bookstore has featured popular characters such as Winnie- the-Pooh, the Cat in the Hat, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Franklin, Curious George, Arthur and the Berenstain Bears.
On Saturday, though, it was Corduroy's turn to be the star. Children from the Waterville area were treated to a wide range of activities that kept everyone busy throughout the afternoon. In the bookstore, kids had the opportunity to meet with Corduroy and to get their books autographed and their pictures taken with him. Downstairs, a video of Corduroy played, bringing his story to life.
In Page Commons, there were stations for face-painting, cookie decorating, storytelling, Corduroy-themed art projects and games such as "Pin the Button on Corduroy." An all-Corduroy book offered special bargains on the bear's books.
The idea for Kid's Character Day was hatched fourteen years ago. In need of something to fill the windows of the bookstore in March, the staff decided to make a display featuring Dr. Seuss' books in honor of his birthday.
Once the display was created, the ideas kept coming. "We wanted to have a cake and then I thought that maybe we could get a character to come, and try to open it up to the public," Shutt said. When the event was first announced, the community gave an overwhelming response, indicating that Character Day should be an annual staple. The event has only continued to grow in the years since.
"I get calls months in advance from people wondering when it's going to be held, and what character will be coming this year," Shutt said.
Judging from the number of families that poured into Page Commons throughout the afternoon, the event continues to be a sweeping success. Kids ran around excitedly, hurrying from activity to activity, sporting Corduroy buttons and carrying balloons. Their smiling faces said it all: getting to meet a book character that they know and love is something truly special.