Quality time in the park

GHENT – Along the edge of the park in Ghent Saturday afternoon were the pages of one of Dr. Seuss’ stories.

On the other side of the park, large blue and red inflatable barriers were set up for a game of laser tag.

Among the rolle bolle, parade, street dance, Zumba and other activities for Ghent’s Belgian American Days, some events were geared toward children. Two were new – Reed’s Read Storybook Walk and laser tag.

Now that Reed’s Run is over, said Kandy Noles Stevens, her family thought the storybook walk would be something for the community. Her son, Reed, loved to read, and they wanted to share that love with others.

“The concept is for families to take a stroll and read a book,” Noles Stevens said. She said she’s already gotten requests from other communities to have a Reed’s Read Storybook Walk.

At the end of the storybook walk, there’s another activity of sorts. On Saturday, children had the chance to build a teddy bear. Noles Stevens said the activity could be anything, like going to a farmers market and tasting vegetables. She said there are plans to have another storybook walk at the Central Park Market in Cottonwood. “There might be art activities.”

Or there could be a storybook walk in the wintertime, Noles Stevens said, such as a candlelight snowshoe.

“Reed loved to snowshoe,” Noles Stevens said.

Erin Stevens, Reed’s sister, along with Rachel Kurtenbach, led Natalie and Elizabeth DeCock through the storybook walk, reading every page out loud.

Once the story was finished, Natalie and Elizabeth’s family shared their appreciation.

“Thanks for doing that, it was very nice of you,” the girls’ grandfather, Bernie DeCock, said to Stevens and Kurtenbach.

At the end of the walk, Bruce Shover of Marshall Bowl was on hand to build a teddy bear. The sisters’ mother, Jodi, said they both could have a bear.

“Give it a hug test and make a wish,” Shover told the girls as they each received their new friend.

While the DeCocks took a nice stroll, small waves of children lined up for their turn for laser tag. Local Boy Scouts were supervising the inflatable games. Lisa Meyer reminded the players of game play.

“Let everybody get in position before you start shooting,” Meyer said.

Two teams of four darted onto the laser tag course, waiting to begin. Pretty soon, kids started zapping each other.

Brock Swanson wondered why his laser tag gun was no longer making any noise.

“My battery’s dead,” he said.

Tyah DePyper walked up to Meyer, asking why her laser tag gun wasn’t working anymore.

“You are all done,” Meyer said.

Meyer had to break the same news to Kannon DePyper.

“Your headband lights up when you’ve been shot 25 times,” Meyer said.

But he didn’t mind.

“That was awesome,” Kannon DePyper said.

After three games, Evan Engesmoe still had five lives left, but he stepped out a round in order to let others have a turn. A group of four girls – Sophie Gaul, Daylin Crowley, Skylar Crowley and Lauren Wherry – entered the game. They said they had never played laser tag before. The Crowleys went on the red team, while Wherry and Gaul were on the blue team.

“I have no idea what I’m doing,” Gaul said as kids ran fast and furious throughout the course.