First Fridays draws shoppers to downtown Marietta

Photo by Chad Plauche-Adkins Lisa Mayle browses through books available at Wit and Whimzy’s book exchange on Friday.

MARIETTA  — Families turned shoppers flocked to downtown Marietta for the March edition of Marietta Main Street’s First Fridays event. The theme for this month’s downtown celebration was “Reading Rainbow,” sponsored by the Marietta Moose Lodge. Friday’s event coincided with Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2.

Andrew VonVille, administrator for the lodge, said one of the main purposes of the Loyal Order of the Moose is to benefit children, so sponsoring an event focused on spreading the joy of reading among the youth of Marietta was right on target.

“It was a perfect fit for us,” he said.

The lodge set up a s’mores station and a child ID booth at the armory so parents could have a hard copy of their children’s description in case of an emergency.

“They get a CD with multiple pictures of their child at different angles and their fingerprints on it,” VonVille said.

Photo by Chad Plauche-Adkins Elizabeth Ashby has IDs made for her children by the Marietta Moose Lodge Friday at the armory.

Elizabeth Ashby, 36, of Marietta, got her four children’s IDs before heading off to some of the reading-based activities on Friday.

“My kids love to read,” she said. “But I really came down for the IDs.”

When she was told about Mother Goose reading stories at Jeremiah’s Coffee House, her plans changed.

“We’re going to have to stop down there then,” she said.

In the back corner of the coffee house, Karen Schwendeman of Marietta, dressed as Mother Goose, sat patiently waiting to read a collection of stories.

Photo by Chad Plauche-Adkins Faith Johnson, left, and Grace Johnson hear a fairy tale read by Mother Goose (Karen Schwendeman) on Friday at Jeremiah’s Coffee House.

“I read them for my grandchildren,” she said. “This is good practice.”

Emily Tewanger, 29, of Marietta brought her daughter Addelyn to Jeremiah’s to hear Mother Goose tell her tales.

“She’s been really excited about coming since I told her about it yesterday,” she said. “We are classic nursery rhyme fans…and I get coffee. It’s a win-win situation.”

Laura Pytlik, owner of Wit and Whimzy, set up a book exchange for parents to get new books to read to their children.

“Parents get tired of reading the same books over and over,” she said.

Pytlik had about 40 books for exchange in her store, and said what was still there after the event would go to the free library near the Washington County Boys and Girls Club on Lancaster Street.

Lisa Mayle, 41, of Chesterhill, stopped by Wit and Whimzy on Friday to shop for someone special.

“My best friend lives in Minnesota and this is her favorite store,” she said.

As Mayle looked through the books available in the exchange, she spoke of her own love of reading as a child.

“I was one of those kids who read books over and over,” she said. “If somebody read those stories to me, I would correct them when they got it wrong.”

The next Marietta Main Street First Fridays event will be on April 5, with the them “Marietta’s Birthday.”