The Gaines County Public Library held the Summer Reading Program Kick-off and 2nd Annual Worm races on June 2, from 10:00 am until 12:00 pm.
The Fire Department was there, letting kids inspect a fully loaded fire engine, as well as local EMT personnel, answering questions on an ambulance.
Free ice cream kept the participants cool, while they decorated the side-walks with chalk, and got involved in the worm races.
Inside, the kids could register for Summer Reading, and collect the goodies that were being handed out. The Llano Estacado Underground Water District, Familia Dental, The South Plains Health District, C.A.S.A. Child Advocates and Molina HealthCare, filled a room with information, and filled bags with goodies and handouts for kids.
350 kids have signed up for the program, in three days, 130 of them at the kick-off.
The Worm Races have grown rapidly, after finding great success at last year's kick-off.
The children or “trainers” choose a worm, and assign the competitor a name. The racers had names like “Wiggly,” “Turbo” and “Sassy Frass,” even if they weren’t setting any speed records.
The 96 youngsters who entered contestants (that is 96 worms) took great delight in cheering on their representatives, and then taking them home.
Each child received a sheet of instructions on how to make a house for a worm.
Friends of the Library Volunteers helped with the race and with all aspects of the Kickoff Party.
Sonic Drive-In purchased and donated the Night Crawler worms.
When it was race time, the youngsters moved to the racing table, which was outfitted with a 3- inch inner circle marked in the center of a larger 24- inch diameter circle. Four worms at a time were placed into the small circle, and the first one to touch the outer circle's edge, won. There was a winner named in each heat, and bragging rights were a popular award. The trainers were able to take their racing worms home for further training or to retire to a life of garden duty.
The Library plans to make the Great Worm Race an annual event.
The festivities continued on Thursday afternoon, signing up kids age 12-18 for the Summer Reading Program, and a Cookie Decorating Contest. This marked the 5th year of Cookie Decorating for the young readers. Approximately 15 kids brought their creativity and a sweet tooth, to vie for Sonic and Wal-mart gift cards.
The judges this year were, Cheryl Gandy, Candy Boyd and Michael Lord. The participants were eligible to win in four different divisions: Creativity, Best use of Materials, Prettiest, and Most Monstrous. After a half of an hour, of serious decorating, the judges made a final pass, and stepped out for brief deliberations. When the sugar had cleared, the winners were: Cassey Thiessen for Creativity, Mirandah Rempel for Best use of Materials, Martha Wiebe for Prettiest and Brittney Weeks for Most Monstrous.
The Library encourages kids to keep reading, and have a great summer.