Every year on the first Sunday of March Oberlin’s chapter of America Reads throws a “Dr. Seuss Day” celebration at the Oberlin Public Library in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Over 200 kids from Oberlin and the surrounding area come to the library to enjoy free music, performances, activities, and food and this year I spent my winter term organizing the event. Of course, my first order of business was to recruit the entire softball team to have a booth at the event and to help with its preparation. I immediately invited the Black River Belles, the team’s favorite student bluegrass trio, to perform and the team was convinced that they had to attend.
Needless to say, the softball booth was the most popular activity. We set up a beanbag toss right next to the popcorn machine, gave away a free tattoo to every kid, and offered them some water and a wash cloth to apply the tattoo right then and there. While we hung out with the kids in the activity room, a whole other group of kids watched performances on the “stage” that Kate and I set up in the main library. The Obertones, Round Midnight, OSteel, And What!?, the Black River Belles and OCircus all performed between Dr. Seuss readings by prominent community members.
The activities and music were a lot of fun, but by far the most entertaining part of the afternoon was when Katie, Megan and I dressed up in the costumes we had rented for the event. To my complete surprise, Megan volunteered to dress as the Cat in the Hat and she roamed the library, delighting children with her Seussian wit the entire afternoon. Because the usual costume shop that rents out Elmo and Blue’s Clues costumes is temporarily out of business, Katie and I ended up taking turns navigating the library in a giant, old, particularly pungent St. Bernard costume. It was hard to be a loveable mascot in the tattered suit and we almost knocked down more than a couple of toddlers that ended up in our blind spots, but we managed to attract some fans and at least one little boy was teary-eyed when it was time for the puppy to leave.
After Julia ran all around town looking for temporary tattoos not of princesses or butterflies (gender is a social construct), and Kristine, Kristen and Kate lovingly applied them to countless hands, arms, and faces, the softball team probably spent more time, effort, and money on the event than anyone else that helped out. When the last kids had left, most of the America Reads volunteers went home, but of course the trusty softball team stayed behind to pick up the mess, load up the cars, and transport everything back to the Bonner Center. Thanks team!
Sophie Schacht, #5