The fall celebrations are returning to downtown Seymour after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Oktoberfest is just the beginning.
Other events taking place next month include the Scarecrow Stroll, Ghouls and Goblets, Downtown Trick or Treat and Book October, a new family-friendly outdoor activity for all ages presented by The Magic of Books Bookstore, Seymour Main Street and the City of Seymour .
On a month-long book walk, Booktober takes readers down the downtown sidewalks to read the pages of “Lewis the Toothless Vampire” by Seymour authors Suzanne and Tim Hill, illustrated by Krishana Griffith.
“From October 1st through October 31st, poster-sized pages of the book will be on display in the windows of 25 stores downtown,” said bookstore owner Jenna Martinez. “After reading a page, QR codes are scanned to document the walk of each participant.”
Scan all 14 QR story codes to fill in the appropriate web entry and automatically enter to win one of three signed copies of Lewis the Toothless Vampire. If you scan all the QR codes on the pages shown, you will also receive a bonus entry. The winners will be drawn at random from among all participants in the walk.
A randomly drawn winner will also receive a $ 100 gift card for the participating company of their choice courtesy of Tim Hill. The winners will be drawn and notified on November 1st.
The idea for the event came when Jan Rutherford, the city’s public information specialist, sent Martinez the idea via SMS.
“I have a friend in California who sent me a flyer about his library holding a one-day Booktoberfest,” Rutherford said. “I really didn’t even know what they were doing, but I had to think about our Oktoberfest and the thought occurred to me that maybe we could do some kind of October event.”
Martinez and Rutherford contacted Bri Roll, Executive Director of Seymour Main Street, and the three began brainstorming. Lola Snyder, director of youth services at the Jackson County Public Library and a member of the bookstore’s book club, also supports the project.
“Bri happened to know that Mayor (Matt) Nicholson and his wife were in another ward where they were doing bookkeeping,” Rutherford said. “He had encouraged Bri to do something like this here, and October was the perfect opportunity.”
Martinez then stretched out the hills. Suzanne said Martinez asked if she and Tim were interested in working together at an event downtown where her bookstore works with Roll and Rutherford. Lola Snyder, director of youth services at the Jackson County Public Library, is also volunteering at the event.
“Jenna suggested using Lewis the Toothless Vampire as a book,” said Suzanne. “Of course we were more than flattered that our book was selected and took the chance to be a part of it.”
The book, published October 17, 2018 via Pen It! Publications, is the first of her 11 published books and happens to be the first book that she wrote with her husband. In early 2018, the Hills began developing the storyline for the book.
âWe had the character and then we were like, ‘Why does Lewis have no teeth?’ and I wanted to draw the mother card and send the message why it is important to brush your teeth, âsaid Suzanne. “But Tim suggested, ‘What if his teeth fall out because he stole and ate all the candy and then never brushed his teeth?'”
So they started making history, knowing that October was National Bullying Prevention Month.
“We wanted to incorporate that into the plot as well and make it more of a Halloween holiday book, but chose to approach it in a less than traditional way,” she said. âInstead of saying at the beginning of the book that Lewis is a bully, we wanted the children to form their own opinion about Lewis and wanted the children to actually see if they could see the signs of bullying and identify themselves. “
They kept the story light with a dash of humor to keep the kids busy. If the plot takes a more serious turn that way and it turns out Lewis is a tyrant, it has more sway over the reader. The book has many layers, and the children pick up something new every time they read the book again.
“For 2019, Lewis the Toothless Vampire was listed on the Riverside Medical Clinic Charitable Foundation’s website as a recommended reading resource for students,” said Suzanne. “The outreach coordinator at the time used the book in her program when she went into school systems to start the discussion on the subject of bullying.”
Suzanne said she hoped the main takeaway from the book was that people should just be nice to one another.
Tim said when he found out her book was picked for October it was kind of surreal.
“I felt like the universe had given me a caring gift,” he said. âTo know that the pages of a book my wife and I wrote will be open for everyone to read in downtown my hometown in October is like, ‘Wow! Fantastic.'”
Tim said that creative writing is very rewarding for him and that he finds it a wonderful, centering outlet.
âYou are free to let your imagination run wild and tell a story. Freedom of expression is one of the greatest gifts our founding ancestors gave us, âhe said. âOne of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein is: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Because knowledge is limited, while imagination encompasses the whole world, stimulates progress and brings about evolution. ‘”
He takes all of that into account when writing, and during the pandemic and lockdown, he and his wife spent most of 2020 writing instead of the usual get-togethers with friends.
âIt was very pleasant and productive for us to concentrate fully on our writing projects during this time,â he said.
“Lewis the Toothless Vampire” is the only book of the 11 titles Suzanne published that Tim is co-authored with, although he contributed in some way to all of her other 10 published titles.
“We hope we have a good turnout in October and have more fun, free, family-friendly walks in the future,” she said.
There are no costs for companies or the public to participate.
In addition, people can stop by The Magic of Books Bookstore, 113 W. Second St. to purchase, decorate, and sign a paper October Pumpkin to hang in the window.
The proceeds will be used to fund the bookstore’s future community events and projects, including the Halloween painting contest and Santa Letters.
The October walking map, on which the stops are listed in the correct order, can be found online at seymourmainstreet.org under the “News” tab or at themagicofbooksbookstore.com.