Novel experience: Campout at Pequot Library
As the sun set behind the red tile roof of the Southport landmark, the tune "Summer Wind" floated through the Friday evening air, kids romped with hula hoops and badminton racquets, and adults lounged in lawn chairs. It was good old-fashioned family fun.
The Pequot Library's annual potluck supper and campout attracted over a dozen families who pitched tents on the Great Lawn and shared the foods they brought. The overnight event also featured a bonfire with marshmallow roasting, music performed by Chris Merwin, badminton, Pop's ice cream truck, a limbo contest and a sail cloth that adults waved up and down as laughing youngsters frollicked beneath. It marked the start of the library's summer reading programs for adults, 'tweens/teens and children.
Pequot Executive Director Dan Snydacker said, "This is a great place to camp out. It's nice and flat, and the grass is nice and soft.
"The bears are also well behaved -- much better than the Canadian Rockies," he joked.
"We love this event and Susan Ei, the children's librarian, does such a great job organizing it," he said. "It's a great use of the lawn."
Leslie Mahtani, a library services helper, spoke highly of Ei's efforts as well. "Susan, who's worth three times her weight in gold, created this event," she said, "and my daughter Sitara and I started coming here right from the get-go. I like how many people come out and all the activities." Sitara, 18, chimed in, "And it's a festive way to kick off summer."
Ei noted it was the library's sixth annual potluck/campout and, historically, the weather has been cooperative. "We went from three tents at the first event to 18 last year," she added.
Lori Mediate, sitting on the perimeter of the lawn watching all the fun, was another veteran attendee. "This is small-town Connecticut Americana," she said. "And they're making S'mores -- you can't beat that."
Struggling to assemble his tent, Fairfielder Tom Lawlor said, "We bought our tent for this event initially. Some years, it's the only occasion it comes out. And every year I forget how to put it together. I have to relearn every time."
Lounging along a pathway with several neighbors, Yogesh Sadarangani said the event has become a group destination. "We're all from Osborne Lane," he said about his counterparts. "We began this tradition three years ago. It's a great way to bond. Sure, some of us parents would rather be in our beds, but our kids make us come," he smiled.
While the weather remained clear and warm through mid-evening, gusts of wind began to kick up and, ultimately, rain arrived after midnight and pummeled the temporary shelters.