Old MacDonald had a goat: Downtown Story Day returns to Midland this Saturday

Because who doesn’t love a goat with a good book?

This Saturday, April 10 from noon to 4 p.m., families will have the unique opportunity to hear dramatic readings of farm-themed children’s books and pet goats in downtown Midland. 

“Every year, they choose a different theme. And this year, it’s farm animals,” says Melissa Farley, events coordinator for Midland Downtown Development Authority (DDA). “I have a 1-year-old son (Peyton) who absolutely loves the song Old MacDonald. When we were thinking of themes, I threw out farm animals because I knew he would love it.”

Librarians at Grace A. Dow Library picked out farm-themed picture books for the event, vetting them for age-appropriateness and to match the theme. (Photo taken pre-COVID)
To “spice things up,” the DDA asked Grandma’s Pumpkin Patch to bring goats to Main Street. They will be penned up on the sidewalks, open for petting and feeding.

“I did want to bring some more [animals], but for some reason, they wouldn’t let me have cows or horses on Main Street,” Farley jokes. 

Eleven businesses are participating this year. In each of the businesses, a story space will be set up for children to hear a story reading. Reading times are staggered so that every half hour, storytelling will be happening. For a list of the participating businesses, selected books, and reading times, go to the downtown Midland website

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, space in the businesses at any point will be dependent on their capacities Masks are required in indoor spaces. (Photo taken pre-COVID)Librarians at Grace A. Dow Library picked out picture books, vetting them for age-appropriateness and to match the theme. 

“They sent me a list of probably 100 different books to choose from and we let the businesses choose which book from that list that they’d like to read,” says Farley. “... I really appreciate them doing that for us.”

After each reading, children can enter a raffle to win a free copy of the book that was read. Winners will be shared on social media and books will be mailed out the week of April 12.

“It’s a good chance to take the family downtown and see all the great things downtown has to offer,” says Farley. “And the two cookie shops don’t hurt, of course.”

Due to COVID-19 guidelines, space in the businesses at any point will be dependent on their capacities. Guests are encouraged to plan accordingly and remember the same stories will be read multiple times. Masks are required in indoor spaces and outside when social distancing isn’t possible.

A story space will be set up in each business for children to hear a story reading. Reading times are staggered so that every half hour, storytelling will be happening. (Photo taken pre-COVID)
Farley is gearing up for the opening of pedestrian plazas this June, where portions of downtown Midland will be closed to vehicle traffic. Pedestrians will be free to leisurely enjoy the shops, dine at picnic tables, and drink alcohol in the common areas. DDA plans to have live music every Friday and Saturday too.

“We’re working on making [the plazas] bigger and better than last year, with a lot more activity,” says Farley.

Read more articles by Crystal Gwizdala.

Crystal Gwizdala grew up in the Tri-Cities and enjoys broadcasting all the positive change happening in Midland. As Assistant Editor for Catalyst Midland, her favorite topics are environment, wellness, mental health, and the arts. As a human, Crystal is a serial hobbyist: hiking, drawing, yoga, and playing music. Her work can be seen in The Detroit Free Press, Midland Daily News, and The Delta Collegiate. To see what Crystal’s up to, you can follow her on Twitter @CrystalGwizdala.
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