Eight Horry County High School students are competing in an online poetry slam on YouTube to see who will be invited to compete live at River Read on April 12.

Second-Annual River Read Festival Promises a Day Full of Fun, Fantasy and Free Books

Special Guest Authors Jane Spillane and Tom Mack, The Tiara Twins, Poetry Slam Finals, Essay Contest Winners, Storybook Character Parade and So Much More in Store

CONWAY, SC – Come one and all to the second-annual River Read festival on April 12 at Riverfront Park from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in historic downtown Conway. Bring the whole family down to the Riverwalk for a day filled with fun and celebration of Horry County’s love of reading and Conway as “The City that Reads.”

Center Stage

Building off the success of last year’s inaugural event, River Read 2014 has even more in store for our Center Stage events, which include:

  • Musical performance by the Browns Ferry Elementary School Band.
  • Family Outreach of Horry County’s Happy, Healthy Baby and Kid Contest awards ceremony featuring The Tiara Twins from TLC’s wildly popular series Toddlers & Tiaras.
  • Special Guest Authors Jane Spillane, the widow of legendary crime novelist Mickey Spillane, and Tom Mack, chair of the board of governors of the South Carolina Academy of Authors.
  • River Read’s 2014 Poetry Slam, featuring three Horry County High School teenagers. Second round of competition is taking place on YouTube until April 9.
  • Awards for all of our contest winners and special designations for Kingston Elementary School and North Myrtle Beach High School for their exceptional participation in River Read 2014.

The Children’s Corner will be hopping all day with lots of local children’s authors and community organizations offering crafty activities and exciting games – all for free. Storytime Station will offer children’s tales all day long, including some read by local authors, Horry County’s finest and bravest, favorite super heroes, story characters, celebrities and more.

This year, River Read will have some animal fun, too. Children will be able to read to some of Therapy Dogs International’s canine companions and meet the lucky little kitty that inspired Sharon Johnson’s children’s book, Midnight’s Destiny. There will also be lots characters hanging around the park all day, including Spudly, the Sonic Drive-In Mascot, the Chik-Fil-A Cow, Chauncey the Chanticleer, some of The Scooby Squad and The Mystery Machine and many more familiar faces from page and screen.

River Read’s Book Exchange is back and bigger than ever, offering hundreds of books for festival-goers to look through and take home if they like. Everyone is welcome to add their own books to the exchange, as well. The Book Exchange will be run by Coastal Carolina University’s Chanticleer Center for Literacy Education.

In addition to the Book Exchange, River Read will also be giving away more than 500 brand-new children’s books, thanks to the generous support of Franklin Sanders Allstate. These books range in age from baby through middle school, and their purchase has enabled Bridgewater Academy, one of Horry County’s charter schools, to get free books in every classroom in the school. 

River Read would not be complete without a Storybook Character Parade. The highlight of last year’s event, the parade will feature any child who comes to River Read dressed as their favorite book character. Prizes for most original costume, cutest costume and other categories will be awarded and characters from the X-Con Girls cosplay group will be on hand to lead the parade.

Children of all ages are invited to participate. Come in costume and bring your books to River Read!

River Read is a nonprofit community festival, which would not be possible without the dedicated individuals, volunteers, community organizations and businesses who have worked together to bring this event to life. Special thanks to personal contributors to River Read, as well as our business sponsors: Waccamaw Community Foundation, the City of Conway, Coast RTA, WBTW News 13, Sonic America’s Drive In Star 92.1 FM, Social Suite Creative, Elite Talent and Event Management Services, Mother Goose Children's & Maternity Resale Store, The Jackson Companies, Franklin Sanders Allstate, Wells Fargo, Conway National Bank, Woodmen Of The World, Books-a-Million and Design the Sign.

For more information about River Read, visit our Website or contact Barbara Blain-Olds at info@riverread.org.

About River Read:

River Read is a nonprofit community festival. Its goal is to celebrate reading in Horry County, and the City of Conway as “The City that Reads.” River Read was created in response to a Municipal Association of South Carolina challenge to identify a unique feature of one’s city, and utilize it to instill pride and a sense of community in its residents. Councilwoman Barbara Blain-Olds heard this call and drew upon her staunch support of promoting literacy in her community, a personal love of reading and the universal appeal it has for people to create this unique festival that brings all of our stories together in celebration of reading.

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