LARSON: Summer full of songs, sports, and Steampunk

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

With the myriad activities and events Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation and the Gwinnett Library are offering kids of all ages this summer, I don't think it would be possible to do them all.

Gwinnett Parks offers an amazing variety of athletic activities for everybody every day including fishing, skating, horseshoes, bocce and shuffleboard. For a casual stroll, the Railroad Garden at Vines Park and the Veterans Memorial Museum at the old courthouse are also free of charge.

Annual and recurring events include Kids' Fishing Day on June 1 at Jones Bridge Park, Brown Bag Concerts at the old courthouse on June 7, July 5 and Aug. 2, where you can enjoy the sounds of Scott Douglas Steel Drums and Havana Son, and on June 15, you can enjoy Movie Under the Stars on a huge screen at Rhodes Jordan Park.

New experiences for the senses this year include an ongoing three dimensional art show by Bree Sauers at the old courthouse and Beep Kickball Play Day at Shorty Howell Park, co-sponsored by the Georgia Blind Sports Association. (Blindfolds provided.)

The Gwinnett Library is not to be outdone with its variety of kids' activities for the summer. Younger readers can enjoy Doggie Tales, puppet shows and all sorts of games, songs and crafts to go along with their Dig into Reading theme.

For teens, the summer is packed with choices and challenges. All summer long all over the county teens can create customized locker magnets and design their own T-shirt using stencils, paint and bleach pens. Teens can also use their imagination constructing a potato head planter, candy sushi, water color silhouettes, key chains or a 3-D sculpture with balloons, glue and string.

For those wanting to demonstrate their manual dexterity with all 10 fingers and not just their thumbs, then Marshmallow Engineering is a great opportunity to compete for the most complex construction using only marshmallows, toothpicks and coffee stirrers.

Those wanting to improve their artistic skills might enjoy hearing Kyle Puttkammer, creator of Galaxy Man, teach the basics of drawing comics or Maria Turk demonstrate the art of calligraphy.

On the real cutting edge of the art scene will be the Steampunk collage workshops. I asked Emilie P. Bush, a local author of two Steampunk novels and two Steampunk picture books, about the growing interest in this genre.

Bush, whose third novel is due in September, said, "In the last several years, I've seen the collection of Steampunk Young Adult and middle grade years books explode. So many great stories have come onto the market and it's a natural fit. Adventure, history, self-reliance and a struggle against the system is what Steampunk -- and growing up -- is all about. Also, it's such a beautiful and tactile aesthetic -- very hands-on -- and so aware of our human need to create and fix and tinker."

Enough said. It's time to go do! For more information, visit www.gwinnettcounty.com and www.gwinnettpl.org.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.


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