Gregg L. ParkerFor the Madison Spirit
Children taking off from the starting line will also kick off summer reading at the Helen P. Lee Memorial Fun Run on May 30 at the Madison Public Library, 130 Plaza Blvd.
"Helen was an avid participant in fun runs and even won a medal during a library conference," branch manager Sarah Sledge said. Lee was branch manager in Madison for five years until her death in January 2008.
The run serves as a kickoff party for summer reading. During June and July, the library will host events such as magic shows, SciQuest Hands-On Science Center programs, hula and ballet presentations and movie nights.
"Children can register free and attend as many programs and read as many books as possible throughout the summer," youth services librarian Maggie Allen said. Based on volumes read, sponsors will make donations this year for a new mascot costume for the "Library Lion."
From 8 to 10 a.m. at the race, youths can sign up and paint the "Be Creative" summer banner. "They'll enjoy sidewalk chalk, crafts, face-painting and bubbles, along with snacks and drinks," Allen said.
Races start at 8:30 a.m., alternating every 15 minutes for different ages and groups until 10. Times are scheduled for the "stroller set" for parents and toddlers, pre-schoolers and students in grades K-3.
Race distances will vary by age. The longest route will extend from the library to Oh! Bryan's Family Steak House.
"We'll have a stream of children's activities throughout the morning," Allen said. A few of these events will be the "find your shoes relay, egg/spoon roll and water cup relay."
Allen promises the run "will get children excited about coming to the library. We're not just a place for books, we also offer special activities, games, snacks and fun." In addition, the race encourages outdoor play and a time for recreation with peers.
Nesin Therapy Services is an event sponsor. "Their organization has quite a bit of experience helping with various community races around Huntsville and Madison. All their expertise is greatly appreciated," Allen said.
In addition to Nesin, other sponsors are Publix, Junior League and the library's Plaza Boulevard neighbors - Rousseau Family Dentistry, Primrose School of Madison and Oh! Bryan's.
"Madison Public Library is extremely lucky to have all of our support within the community," Allen said.