A love of reading can be shown in many ways.

At the 7th annual “Reading Under the Lights” at Parkway Field, the love of reading showed in the careful handling of books, the heads bent together and the pages turned. For some school district employees, it meant a Friday night handing out books to young readers, for parents it meant wrangling excited kids and for young readers, it simply meant showing up.

“I like reading and seeing friends,” said Liberty Christjohn, 12, who has attended four of the seven “Reading Under the Lights” events with her family.

For some, the reading starts as soon as they cross through the gate, find a spot to lay out their blanket on the field and can get settled. For others, the social aspect of the event is just as important as the books they brought to read and the new books they received, courtesy of the Bradford Area School District.

“We came to our first Reading Under the Lights because, as a book lover myself, it sounded intriguing,” said Kate Feely, in attendance for the fourth time with her son. “It is fun, it is outside and I’m raising a reader, so anything we can do to inject more books into our lives works for me.”

Feely’s son, Ryan, age 5 1/2, proved to be a big fan of the event as well. When asked by his mom what he likes best about attending, he responded, “...that we READ!”

The ELF Fund purchased copies of the book “Dragons Love Tacos,” helping to ensure that each family who attended took home a copy.

“We are always happy to partner with the community, especially when it relates to children and supporting literacy,” said Ed Hayden, ELF Fund president. “We have really been pushing literacy the last few years, hoping to break the chain of generational poverty through education.”

Bradford City Fire Department Lt. Cathy Mealy read the book to those in attendance, and everyone found out what happened when the dragons ate spicy salsa by accident. A dragon was even on hand for a photo op with families.

The event ended with chocolate milk and cookies, handed out to the departing participants. For some, this bedtime snack was icing on the cake. For others, it may have been the reason to show up in the first place. Either way, everyone seemed to go home happy.

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