Library’s Great Lawn transforms into family playground
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Fairfield Citizen News)
Fairfield, CT – As the sun set behind the red tile roof of the stone building, “Summer Wind” was the tune floating in the air, kids ran about with hula hoops and badminton racquets, and adults sat in sports chairs visiting with each other. It was good old-fashioned family fun.
Held Friday evening into Saturday morning, Pequot Library’s Annual Potluck Supper and Campout attracted over a dozen families. They pitched tents on the facility’s Great Lawn and enjoyed contributed food, a bonfire with marshmallow roasting, live music performed by Chris Merwin, badminton, Pop’s ice cream truck, a limbo contest and a sail cloth that adults waved up and down while kids ran under it. The event marked the start of the library’s summer reading programs for adults, tweens/teens and children.
Executive Director Dan Snydacker commented on how suitable the site is for the event. “This is a great place to camp out,” he said. “It’s nice and flat, and the grass is nice and soft. The bears are also well behaved – much better than the Canadian Rockies,” he joked.
Snydacker added, “We love this event and Susan Ei, the Children’s Librarian, does such a great job organizing it. It’s a great use of the Lawn.”
Leslie Mahtani, a library services helper, spoke highly of Ei’s efforts as well. “Susan, who’s worth three times her weight in gold, created this event,” she said, “and my daughter Sitara and I started coming here right from the get-go. I like how many people come out and all the activities.”
Sitara, 18, chimed in, “And it’s a festive way to kick off summer.”
Ei noted that the event is the sixth annual and, historically, the weather has been cooperative. She also commented on how it has grown in popularity. “We went from three tents at the first event to 18 last year,” she said.
Lori Mediate, sitting on the perimeter of the lawn watching all the fun, was another attending who had been coming to the event since its inception. “This is small-town Connecticut Americana,” she said. “And they’re making S’mores – you can’t beat that.”
Struggling to assemble his tent, Fairfielder Tom Lawlor said, “We bought our tent for this event initially. Some years, it’s the only occasion it comes out. And every year I forget how to put it together. I have to relearn every time.”
Lounging along a pathway with several neighbors, Yogesh Sadarangani said the event has become a group destination. “We’re all from Osborne Lane,” he said about his counterparts. “We began this tradition three years ago. It’s a great way to bond. Sure, some of us parents would rather be in our beds, but our kids make us come,” he smiled.
While the weather remained clear and warm through mid-evening, gusts of wind began to kick up and, ultimately, rain arrived after midnight and pummeled the temporary shelters. No doubt its patter on the tents kept light sleepers awake, but then that’s just part of the camping experience.