I just returned from an amazing adventure to Florida for the World of Reading Festival.

The event is put on by the Junior League of Greater Lakeland. The women in this group put on fundraisers through out the year, raising up to six figures to give back to the community. This fact alone (and the fact that I hit it off with the awesome ladies in the group) makes me want to be a member. But that would mean I would have to move to Florida and I couldn’t do that (or could I? Ha!)

I arrived on Friday and after renting a car (for the first time ever) drove right to Clearwater Beach. There were clouds covering the sky but the temperature was in the 80s and the humidity was 90%. It felt great! This was also the first time I’ve been away from both my husband and children overnight and for a few days since about four years ago.

Friday night the Junior League had a reception for Herman Parish (author of Amelia Bedelia), Jack Hartmann (children’s musician) and myself. It was beautiful. Complete with a performance of two women playing the cello and violin.

The next day was the World of Reading Festival. This is a free event for families in the Lakeland area. There are tents set up in this beautiful park, each with a different theme. The children travel from tent to tent, completing the activities and getting a stamp. After they travel “around the world” they get a book signed from both Herman and I and a free book from Scholastic. Other sponsors of the event were Florida’s Natural, Publix and Geico. At least 2,000 books were given away at the event. It was amazing to witness.

Each tent had a theme. Character traits: (awesome!) Bravery, Diversity, Friendship, Be Kind, Anti-Bullying and more. I had the best time. Herman and I signed books for 4 1/2 hours straight (with a few breaks to read our books to the kids and eat lunch.) If you are interested in being a part of something like this in your area, find your local Junior League Organization!

P.S. Before heading home, I was sure to drive over to Disney World. I went to the Polynesian Hotel for lunch and was able to put my feet up and relax with a good book!

P.P.S. I wasn’t prepared for tolls and sadly I received a toll violation. In a nutshell, I didn’t have $1.25 in cash to pass through on my way to the airport! Embarassing? Yes. Learning experience? Absolutely!