by Mark Twain Library
Reddingites are preparing to “hop” over to the Community Center Saturday, April 28, from 10AM – 4PM for the 23rd Annual Frog Frolic, which has become the biggest and most exciting Springtime event for the town. The Frolic is a benefit fundraiser for the Mark Twain Library, Redding’s cultural hub, founded by none other than Samuel Clemens himself.
With over 200 volunteers, the Frog Frolic offers something for everyone. There are many mini-events happening at the Frolic! There are so many family things to do: a Bubble Garden for toddlers, Touch-a-Truck, bouncy houses, home-grown entertainment, games, crafts, food, storybook characters and a silent auction. The organizer, Stephanie Oulton says “The Frolic is a chance for people to come together and celebrate Spring in the heart of Redding. It’s one of those days that everyone counts on. You see friends and neighbors. Maybe you volunteer. You support an institution!”
Stephanie says the Frolic is only made possible by the hard work of many volunteers, both behind the scenes and the day of. Volunteer coordinators Ronna Brier and Andrea Peiri have been busy assigning jobs to willing helpers who will set-up, work at and clean up on Saturday.
As in past years, the crafts will be endless fun for children and families. Jennifer Good and Robert Goldman head up the Arts and Crafts area. We’ll have lots of arts and crafts for kids young and old! Among other activities children will be able to enjoy old favorites like Sand Art bottles and Spin Art frisbees along with creating cool Lava Lamps, Magnets or their very own Rockin’ Pet. Ms. Good notes, “Kids can plant a flower for Mom to help celebrate spring.”
All ages will enjoy Game Alley with over a dozen different games including Frolic Freeway, Treasure Hunt, Wheel of Fortune, Lily Pop Frog and The Rabbits Hole.
“Hickory Dickory Dock will challenge players to race the mouse up the clock,” says Jeanine Herman and Carolyn Baker, Games coordinators. Prizes will abound in the Prize Tent organized by Lisa Raymond. Melisa Moreau and Kri Tartaglia will oversee this year’s Kiss A Frog booth, where they promise “everyone is a winner.”
“Aunt Polly’s Bubble Garden is a great respite when a little one needs a break,” notes Danielle Caldwell and Trisha Doyle, Bubble Garden coordinators. Not only can your young child experience being encased in a giant bubble or surrounded by tiny bubbles, but they can color and play with toys meant especially for toddlers. Bigger Frolic-ers will bounce the day away on giant inflatables with the help of Gabriel McMahon. Nearby, a large selection of gently used children’s books will be on sale at below-bargain prices at the Book Sale Tent, hosted by Kathryn Zimmerman and Kristy Veith. And kids will have fun seeing the live amphibians that the folks at New Pond Farms bring to the Frolic!
This year marks the 10th Annual Cake Walk, where bakers of all stripes compete to have their decorated cakes awarded first prize. This year’s theme is “A Happy Un-birthday to You”, the idea of celebrating one’s birthday on any or all of the 364 days of the year that it isn’t your actual birthday. Cakes are accepted for an adult and a junior division. So craft your perfect (or less than perfect) cake and join the fun! Kat Kaplan will coordinate cake drop-off beginning at 9:30 am Saturday morning at the Redding Community Center. All cakes are awarded as prizes during the infamous Cake Walk game!
The entertainment schedule is packed with amazing community performers! The day will start at 10 AM with the Redding-Easton Falcon Cheer Squad. Next is Scott Smith of the local band, Vintage. The final act of the morning will be the RES 3rd and 4th grade chorus, delighting us with a specially selected group of songs. Afternoon entertainment will be kicked off by Leif Smith, the Frolic’s emcee and Mad Hatter, and host of Pickers’ Nite Out at the Redding Roadhouse. Then the students of Kempo Karate and Self Defense will do a marshal arts demonstration led by Sensei June Fagan. Next up are Spanish language songs sung by RES students under the direction of Sr. Vega, their Spanish teacher. The day will end with a set by Robert Gemza of Fairfield, playing classic hits; a real crowd pleaser.
The Frolic’s silent auction offers items for bidding beginning at 10:00 am and closing at 4:00 pm. “This year we’re really luck to have an extraordinary variety of offerings,” says Dick Hawks, Silent Auction Coordinator. Donations range from camps in Canada and New Hampshire, fitness memberships, golf, landscaping, massages, select wines, restaurant gift cards, jewelry, horseback camps, Skiing, car washes, carpets and rugs, and more activities and items. Hawks suggests, “Bid often and bid high!”
Food is available all day at the Grille Tent. This year’s menu features Black Cat Grille hot dogs, Redding Roadhouse vegetarian and meat chili, coffee, and bagels / pastries from Uncle Leo’s. “We also have the popular “Hoppy Meal” for kids that includes a cheeseburger, hamburger or hotdog, a snack, a honest juice box and a prize,” report food coordinators Angela Caes and Jen Lyons. Plus, lots of cold lemonade and ice tea will be available for purchase.
Redding Neighbors and Newcomers will return to treat children young and old with beautifully decorated and yummy tasting cupcakes. “All of us are pleased and proud to participate and Redding Neighbors and Newcomers always shows up in force and delight,” says volunteers Sarah Cummings and Bess Williams.
Along with the annual Book Fair and Art Show, the Frog Frolic is a critical revenue source for the library’s operating budget. Library Treasurer Betsy Higgins has spent several months reaching out to area businesses and families on behalf of the event. “Sponsorship is a meaningful way to show your neighbors you care about the cultural, intellectual, educational and social heart of Redding,” notes Higgins.
“This is an exceptional community event spurred on by Mark Twain’s celebrated frog” says Sandi O’Reilly, organizer emeritus of the Frolic. (Note: The inspiration for the Frog Frolic came from Twain’s short story, “The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County”).
For more information on the 23rd annual Frog Frolic, visit www.marktwainlibrary.org, visit the Mark Twain Library Facebook page, or call 203-938-2545. The Mark Twain Library is owned by the Mark Twain Library Association. It was founded in 1908 by Samuel Clemens – Mark Twain himself – one of Redding’s most celebrated residents.