If you stop by the library next Wednesday, you may come home with ice cream on your nose, a balloon crown on your head, a jig in your step, tattoos on your arm and a smile on your face (painted as a ladybug). And sure, the kids can have fun, too.
It is time for the annual Shorewood Public Library Summer Celebration. This year, the 14th annual free and family-friendly event is on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. So in order not to miss it (again), pause now and add to your calendar "Return Book Weds 6 p.m." We'll wait.
So what is this all about, and why all the fuss?
Big picture, Shorewood is that kind of place that has celebrations in summertime. This one is special because it highlights a central service that brings people of all walks of life together to read and communicate. And it gathers volunteers from many corners of the village.
Heide Piehler, youth services librarian, launched this event 14 years ago to go along with the state sesquicentennial with a focus on Shorewood history. It is noteworthy that this will be her 13th year as a dedicated Shorewood librarian and civil servant, having started at Shorewood during her fieldwork placement in graduate school in 1982.
"It sounds so cliché, but it really is a community celebration and so many groups help, the Friends of Shorewood Library organization funds it, Teen Advisory Board members, the Woman’s Club volunteers who serve the sundae bar (they are amazing, so organized, good-natured), the balloon twisters and face painters who all volunteer, Sue Rebholz, and George and Pete [Dimitropulous], the Culver’s owners who are so helpful and generous," Piehler said.
Trolley tours will hit Shorewood High School and Intermediate School and the Department of Public Works among other sites.
"The passengers seem to enjoy the historical facts not in the history books," Sue Rebholz said.
Piehler says it is rewarding despite the time and worry of organizing it.
"I love planning and organizing the Summer Celebration so I hope to keep doing it. I coordinate it, but Beth Carey, Tiffany Wait, Angie Andre, and other staff are definitely part of the team. When it all comes together and you see so many people just having a good time and relaxing, it’s all worth it," she said.
So what are the details this year?
- Racing sausages — The library will close off North Murray Avenue to allow for two drawings to give Shorewood's finest a chance to race the real Famous Klements Racing Sausages up the street.
- Trolley tours and tour guide — Rebholz, Shorewood High School Alumnae and local historian will give tours from the trolley of historically significant facts about Shorewood. The trolley will depart and return to the library.
- Sundaes courtesy of the Women's Club, Culver's, and Shorewood Sendik's.
- Face Painting and games organized by the Teen Advisory Board.
- Balloon twisting by Jean Taggert.
- Frogwater band will give the grounds a lively Celtic/bluegrass feel (link offers sound).
The ponies will not be on board this year, allowing the sausages more racing and training areas.
After 14 years of coordinating this event, Piehler has a good feel for the most popular events. Hands down (spoons up), "the free sundaes are a huge draw," she said. "The trolley ride is also very popular. There are people who take it every year. The kids obviously love the balloons, face painting and little tattoos.
"We are excited that Frogwater will be here this year," she said about the band. "I think they will be really popular."
Library Director Beth Carey said of the Celebration, "It's a great community event that celebrates kids, but works in nice things for adults and families to do together. We try to have something for all ages, which is why we have a band. I'm looking forward to seeing Frogwater myself."
Rain or shine, the event will go on.