Magic and foam and water slides, oh my! Local libraries wrap up summer reading programs

There are a lot of happy (and very soapy) kiddos in southwest Arkansas tonight. Both Hempstead and Prescott/Nevada County Libraries closed out their summer reading programs today with a visit from Magic Mr. Nick and fun-filled parties.

Magic Mr. Nick has been coming to the area for years to visit the children of the community at local libraries, and his first stop of the day was at Hempstead County Library(HCL) where the youth were also treated to a foam party. The Farmers Bank & Trust (FB&T) team was also at HCL to provide hot dogs and chips, and FB&T Market President Jacob Jones said he and fellow FB&T members were thrilled to join the party. "We are always excited to participate in community events, and we couldn't pass up one such as this where the kids not only get to have a fun time, but they are also encouraged to read and learn about the library's educational resources," Jones said. Finding Flurries was also on the scene for those who wanted to partake in a cold shaved ice treat.

HCL Director Courtney Mc Niel said she and the rest of the library crew thought a visit from Magic Mr. Nick was a great way to wrap up the summer reading program. "We have a very successful program this summer," McNiel said. "We've been working with Mr. Nick for years and he always brings in a big crowd, so coupling the magic show with the foam party seemed like the perfect finale."

Magic Mr. Nick's second stop of the day was at the Prescott/Nevada County Library where these kiddos had a foam party, as well, in addition to a water slide. SWARK.Today caught up Mr. Nick as he manned the foam cannon and asked him why he enjoyed traveling to our corner of Arkansas to participate in these reading programs. His answer was simple: "Look at their faces!" He then continued by saying, "The best part of a summer reading program for me is activities like this gets kids into the library who might not otherwise visit the library. Kids need to keep up their reading in the summer to maintain their reading scores. Plus, for me personally, it was a summer reading program that got me into the library, and it's how I discovered magic."

The youth at the Prescott/Nevada County Library were also treated to hot dogs from the Prescott Lions Club, as well as chips and drinks from Prescott Rotary. Rotarian Patricia Roberts had this to say about participating in the party, "Community involvement is why we're here. This summer program, our civic organization, and many others participating are all here to work together for our community."

Librarian Theresa Tyree said the foam/water slide party was back this year by popular demand to close out the summer reading program. "We did this last year and the kids just loved it," Tyree said. "They asked if we could do this again, and it's a interesting and cool way to end the summer, plus we have an activity together as a community." Hurricane Henry's Shaved Ice was also present for those who wanted a sweet treat after playing in the foam and water.

The success of the day was most telling by the reaction of the kids. At both libraries, youth of all ages could be seen playing, eating, and laughing, in no particular order, with great joy and excitement. SWARK.Today asked 8-year-old Adrian Nixon in Prescott about his favorite part of the celebration, and he said the combination of the foam and water slide was the best. " I have two favorites," Nixon said. " I go to the foam and then the water slide, and then I do it again!"

Nixon and his friends all wore happy smiles and said they would never forget this fun day at the library.