Community gathers to celebrate the arts at the Family Literacy Festival

Kevin Veraluz, grade 6, receives a free book from the SCV Education Foundation at the Family Literacy Festival held at the Old Town Newhall Library Saturday morning. December 07, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The city of Santa Clarita hosted its annual Family Literacy Festival Saturday at the Old Town Newhall Library to lift up literature, music, dance and crafts to the community. 

“It is important for the community to understand that the arts are something that is accessible to them,” said Christopher Ramirez, founder of Freedom Drum Circles. 

Throughout the event, there were different booths, with vendors including the city of Santa Clarita, Girl Scouts of the USA, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and others, offering free merchandise and interactive activities. 

Library staff decorated the Old Town Newhall library with handmade paper artwork for the Family Literacy Festival held at the facility Saturday morning including this arch dedicated to the memory of the victims of the shooting at Saugus High School. December 07, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“We love the library and we usually have a lot of fun at their events,” said Dawn Kennedy, a mother who attended the festival. “And this one, especially since it was free, it seemed like a great event for all of them.” 

Isaiah, Dawn’s son, added that his “favorite part was the bouncy house.”

In addition to the bouncy house, there was a face painting booth and a petting zoo at the festival. Children were seen throughout the event with festive Christmas trees painted on their faces. 

Roger David, left, high-fives a guest at the Family Literacy Festival while dressed as a stormtrooper from Star Wars Saturday morning at the Old Town Newhall Library. David is a member of the Star Wars fan community and non-profit organization called the “501st Legion”. December 07, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

At the festival, there were different special appearances, both fictional and real. Different characters appeared from popular children’s books like George from “Curious George” and Darth Vader and other characters from “Star Wars.” 

Mayor Marsha McLean was present at the event for a storytime segment, but later in the event, she was seen singing “Baby Shark” with a shark puppet to children as they sang along. 

“I think it is important to read because reading from a very young age has been shown to be very critical for doing well in school and work, so getting all ages out here from young babies to adults is helping promote that,” said Joanna Ritchie, senior librarian at Old Town Newhall Library.

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