Summer finale in downtown Suffolk

Published 9:55 pm Thursday, August 2, 2018

Suffolk Public Library staff will hold a free downtown carnival for the public this Saturday to wrap up a goal-breaking summer of reading.

The Camp SPL Grand Finale Carnival will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lot at the corner of West Washington and Lee streets. The carnival will feature a talent show from noon to 2 p.m. with dancing, violin playing, singing, yo-yo and dog tricks, according to early childhood senior librarian April Watkins.

First-, second- and third-place trophies will be awarded along with gift cards, and because library readers crushed the Camp SPL Summer Reading Challenge goal to read 8,000 books by Aug. 4 — there were 18,272 books logged as of Thursday evening, according to — three library staff members will be “slimed” during the talent show’s intermission.


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Readers voted for which three of SPL’s “most wanted” would be hit with a Nickelodeon-like slime recipe of pudding, apple sauce, oatmeal and food coloring. The “winners” are “devious” Deborah Ward, “sneaky” Shawna LoMonaco and “atomic” April Watkins herself.

“I have orange hair, but it was blue at the beginning of the summer, like I have super villain powers” Watkins laughed. She’s excited to live out her 0s Nickelodeon kid dream this Saturday.

There will also be a pie-eating contest from 11 a.m. to noon that still had roughly seven slots available for registrants as of Tuesday. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis for the chance to eat through one of 15 fruit pies the fastest with no utensils and no hands. The winner will receive an O’doodledoo’s Donuts gift card.

“If they don’t get enough sugar at the pie eating, they can get it at O’doodledoo’s,” Watkins said.

Participants will be able to enjoy a round of water blasters to cool off from the Saturday heat. The Get Stuffed food truck will be serving food to go with all of the popcorn. Crafting tables will allow for bird feeders made with Cheerios and pipe cleaners, plus boondoggles and pennant banners.

Dobbins Mini Farm will offer pony rides and a petting zoo. Visitors will scale a Virginia National Guard rock wall or get their faces painted by Ashley Pickin. There will be a clown, bounce house and a massive rainbow water arch.

“This is a great way to come together as a community and celebrate everything we did this summer,” Watkins said.

The festivities will be located inside Morgan Memorial Library if the weather doesn’t hold out on Saturday. Visit or search for “Camp SPL Grand Finale Carnival” for weather updates and other information.