The grounds of the Nicholas P. Sims Library were filled with more than 300 youth and volunteers Saturday morning for a celebration to reward the young readers that were a part of the library’s summer reader program.

This is the 16th year for the carnival as it recognize the reading achievements of the children.

“We hold these programs to help the students retain or better their reading skills over the summer and reward them with a carnival to conclude the summer program,” Sims children’s librarian Charlotte Ivey said.

At the registration table, each child received a packet with a completion diploma and tickets to be used at the carnival.

The carnival, sponsored by the Friends of the Sims Library, had several games for the children as well as a face painter and a balloon artist. The children used their tickets to play games and win prizes at each of the booths.

Members of the friends of the library as well as several youth volunteers came to help with the games and serve up free snacks.

One of the youth volunteer groups was Teens of Sims led by Connie Colston, teen librarian at Sims.

“These kids come out to help with several of the events at the library,” Colston said.

“This is really a fun thing to do. I really like coming out to help where I can and be with my friends as we do whatever is needed,” Hannah Baxter said.

Jacob Jeter was another one of the youth volunteers who chose to sit in the dunking booth.

“The water is not really that cold, in fact it feels pretty good,” Jeter said.   

Besides the dunking booth, there was also ring toss, sidewalk bowling, miniature golf, beanbag toss, football throw and the duck pool.  

“The friends of the library and other local business sponsors help us out a lot. Besides donating their time they donate the funds to buy the prizes for the kids,” Ivey said.  

Several of the Friends of Sims Library manned the snow cone stand passing out the free colored cups of ice to children and their parents.

Putting smiles on many faces was a balloon artist, twisting balloons into flowers, dragons and puppy dogs.

Three-year-old Josephine Anthony assisted the artist while he twisted and turned several balloons into a multi-colored dragon complete with eyes and a smile.

Anthony was one of the participants in the library’s summer program.

“She’s still too little to read so I read at least three to four stories a night to her. This summer we read 75 books together,” said her mother, Rachel Anthony.

While the games were being played, many children were delighted by the face paintings by Bonnie Fritsch. All through the morning she was busy painting flowers, sunrises and other designs on the faces of children.  

The reading program was open to children ages 2-18 beginning on May 31 and running through July 27.

“At the conclusion of the program, all of the participating youth are rewarded with the carnival. We want to encourage children and young people of all ages to better their reading skills,” Ivey said.