Beloit Public Library (BPL) and Downtown Beloit Association (DBA) are teaming up to provide families a fun activity that they can do while being safely distanced from others.

The Downtown Beloit Story Stroll is an interactive experience that encourages families to read a story together while walking through downtown. The book is broken down page-by-page and displayed in the windows of 15 downtown businesses. Families go to the next business to read what happens next in the story.

It’s a scavenger hunt, story time, and walk all in one.

The idea was brought to the DBA by a long-time volunteer who saw another community host a similar event. All DBA had to do was ask BPL, and they jumped on the opportunity.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic, so many of programs, events, and outreach have had to be cancelled, leaving area families with very few options,” said Amy Mitchell, marketing and communications coordinator for BPL. “We are elated to have this opportunity to partner with another organization to provide families in our community with an activity that is safe, fun, and encourages reading.”

The featured book is Hannah’s Tall Order: An A to Z Sandwich – a story about a little girl who is a bit peckish about what she wants to eat. This messy romp through the alphabet will have readers in fits of giggles from beginning to end.

Hannah’s Tall Order is written by Wisconsin author Linda Vander Heyden and illustrated by Kayla Harren. Heyden gave permission for BPL to use the book and plans to host a virtual author talk later in the summer.

The Downtown Story Stroll begins at the future home of the Beloit Daily News, 444 E. Grand Avenue (formerly home to Turtle Creek Bookstore), and ends at The Villager Gallery & Framing, 429 E. Grand Avenue. All 15 businesses are located on the blocks at the corner of State Street and Grand Avenue. Parking is recommended either on the street or in the Broad Street parking lot.

Follow the story at these 15 businesses, listed in order:

  1. Future Home of Beloit Daily News, 444 E. Grand Avenue (former Turtle Creek Bookstore)
  2. Walnut Creek Apparel & Gifts, 408 E. Grand Avenue
  3. Always & Forever Formal Wear, 317 State Street
  4. Pizzazz Gift Boutique, 313 State Street
  5. Stanton Shoes, 311 State Street
  6. First Class Cosmetology School, 306 State Street
  7. Tin Dog Records, 312 State Street
  8. Northwood’s Premium Confections, 314 State Street
  9. Chic & Unique Clothing & Furniture, 318 State Street
  10. Bagels & More, 324 State Street
  11. Bushel & Pecks, 328 State Street
  12. Creekside Music Academy, 421 E. Grand Avenue
  13. J & G’s, Coins, Rings and Things, 419 E. Grand Avenue
  14. Flying Pig, 431 E. Grand Avenue
  15. The Villager Gallery & Framing, 429 E. Grand Avenue

The Downtown Beloit Story Stroll is part of BPL’s Summer Reading Challenge, which has gone virtual this year with the free Beanstack app. Those who complete the Story Stroll challenge will be entered into a drawing for a copy of the book.

Families can sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge on Beanstack and earn even more prizes with multiple challenges that encourage reading all summer long at https://beloitlibrary.beanstack.org.

The Downtown Beloit Story Stroll takes place this Saturday through August 30. Families are asked to keep at least a 6’ distance from others throughout the stroll.

BPL is currently open 9:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To stay on top of the latest news and programs, be sure to follow the BPL Facebook page.

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