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Thousands brave cold for Literacy and Arts Festival

Posted: December 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Yash Mehta, 8, dances as a group from the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center beats a rhythm at the Remo Drum Circle at Santa Clarita's Literacy and Arts Festival held at the Newhall Library on Saturday.

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Cold and rainy conditions did little to stem the flow of attendees to Santa Clarita’s Literacy and Arts Festival at the Newhall Library on Saturday, with thousands turning out during the annual event.

Now in its seventh year, the festival offers an array of activities for attendees aimed at promoting an interest in reading and the arts, according to organizers.

“The idea of the festival is to expose children and their families to all sorts of different arts and to encourage reading,” said Ann Unger, executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation.

Unger said the festival is a collaborative partnership between the Education Foundation, the city of Santa Clarita and the city’s library system and estimated around 3,000 people turned out Saturday.

Interspersed throughout the crowd were people dressed up as literary characters, including Captain Hook and Gandalf from “The Lord of the Rings.”

Along with reading activities, the event also included live performances, an instrumental petting zoo where children could try their hand at different instruments, and an assortment of crafts.

“It’s just all about bringing art and, of course, reading into your life on an every day basis,” Unger said.

Attendees also had the chance to grab themselves a good book, or several.

Marcia Decker, director of Project: Books, Inc. said the group gave away at least 1,000 books during the course of the event.

“Earlier we had a gentleman who came by and took two whole boxes,” she said. “People have just been so excited to get a free book.”

Unger said some of the activities for the festival moved inside the library in anticipation of Saturday’s rainy weather.

But attendees were still enthusiastic regardless.

“Everyone’s been having a good time,” she said. “It’s been sunny faces, even if it’s not sunny outside.”

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