A Busload of Fun

Josie Leavitt - July 11, 2016

The Scholastic Summer Reading Roadtrip winged its way to the Flying Pig yesterday and many children came to enjoy this amazingly fun event. This event seemingly went off without a hitch when the doors opened and the kids arrived. As so often is the case with events, there was much craziness before this one started that was all sorted out in the nick of time. Events are complex creatures that have many moving parts, and when one part is suddenly out of line, there can be a domino effect that creates mild to moderate chaos. This event had several things that were stress-inducing, chief among them were guessing at the weather and a building issue that raised safety concerns.
This was supposed to be an outdoor event. The forecast during the week had said rain was a distinct possibility. We proactively secured Shelburne Town Hall as a backup venue earlier in the week, hedging our bets but thinking that we wouldn’t need the space. The event was far too large to have in the store, so we knew if we couldn’t take over the parking lot, as planned, we’d need an alternate venue. The weather over the weekend was decidedly rainy in Vermont, although Sunday morning found the skies grey without as much predicted rain. Moving an event off site involves a lot of steps that require extra planning.
We had decided late Saturday afternoon to not risk the possibility of showers as the two costumed characters, Clifford and Geronimo Stilton, couldn’t be in the rain. This decision meant we had to load our Square account with all of the book information so we could easily ring up book sales easily. There were three authors, Eric Luper, Ellen Miles and Phoebe Stone, who each had a myriad of titles, plus the books for Clifford and Geronimo as well as activity books, which required a lot of data entry. But doing this made selling the books fairly effortless.

The amazing Nikki Mutch helping at the event.

The amazing Nikki Mutch helping at the event.

Sunday morning found me and Elizabeth wondering if maybe we could have the event at the store as the rain had stopped. But the hourly forecast looked ominous for the actual event time. Bookstores always want to have events on site as it helps with sales because families who are new to the bookstore can see the entire store. At nine a.m. we finally decided to have the event offsite and not risk the possibility of rain. David met me at the store at 10 and we packed up all the books, loaded them in his car and drove to the 500 feet to Town Hall. David and I hauled tables to our selling station and just as we done getting the books out, part of the ceiling fell.
The authors taking a break with Clifford.

The authors taking a break with Clifford.

This has never happened before. It wasn’t a big piece of the ceiling, really just a handful, but it was alarming to say the least, and had us thinking we’d have to move the event, again. The good thing was that the waterlogged part of the ceiling wasn’t anywhere close to where the event would be, but I wanted to make sure it was safe. I called Town Hall to ask if someone could come take a look at it because I wanted to make sure it was safe. Within 10 minutes the maintenance man, Garvey, arrived. He assessed the ceiling, took a broom to the mezzanine and knocked down the 2×2 piece of ceiling that was poised to fall. As he cleaned up he signed off on the ceiling and we all felt confident things would be fine.
They were more than fine. They were amazing! Kids streamed in and the awesome Scholastic crew, led by Ritchie, were fabulous. They set up quickly and efficiently and were bundles of happy energy for all the kids and their families. The authors signed a lot of books and no child got scared by the costumed characters. Kids were coloring, spinning the wheel for prizes, creating fun photos with the green screen and so much more. This was a truly wonderful event that proved again the best events often start off fraught and then recover beautifully.

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