Libraries host pirate party to celebrate ‘Oceans of Possibility’ program

The only thing a pirate likes more than treasure is reading – at least, according to the special visitors at the Corrine Costin Gibson Memorial Public Library on Tuesday afternoon.

Captain Black Beard, a member of his pirate crew and Mermaid Princess Ariel all stopped by to celebrate the end of the library’s summer reading program, Oceans of Possibilities.

The program, which began in early June at both Gulf County libraries, featured events for children ages 2 to 5 and 6 to 12 free of cost. It aimed to help prevent the “summer slide” by providing a variety of engaging, educational programs that encourage discovery.

“It’s not every day you get to meet a mermaid and read stories with pirates,” the Library said in a Facebook post following Tuesday’s event. “Special thanks to Joanne Wilkins Whitley for all the planning, educating, snack-making and creative decor; Ariel from WishUponaParty; Forgotten Coast Pirates Jim McKnight and Sara Quaranta; our friends at Bayside Bakery for the special treats; Teri Poloronis for the bubble machine; and intern extraordinaire Eljai Brown for helping with set-up, clean-up and blowing up all those confetti balloons.”

Almost 40 children and 22 caregivers attended the event in Port St. Joe, and 44 children attended an event celebrating the program’s end at the Charles Whitehead Memorial Public Library in Wewahitchka earlier that afternoon.

Children who had completed their summer reading charts were able to pick up a free book at the event, though the library says they will have until the end of next month to complete their summer reading.

“Summer Reading continues through July, with drawings for four grand prize winners on August 1,” the library said. “Thanks, too, to the Friends of the Gulf County Public Library at PSJ for their unwavering support.”

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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