Claremont Library hosts outdoor summer activities for kids

Performers entertain kids

Actors from the Boxtales Theatre Company perform a bilingual Puerto Rican folktale called “Paco and the Witch” on Tuesday at Shelton Park in Claremont. The event was a kick-off to Los Angeles County Library’s outdoor programs for kids and teens hosted locally by Claremont Helen Renwick Library. The skit follows a boy named Paco who is taken prisoner by a witch after he ventures too far from home. COURIER photo/Andrew Alonzo

For the first time in over a year, residents in and around the community got a taste of summer normalcy as they gathered at Shelton Park on Tuesday to kick off Los Angeles County Library’s outdoor programs for kids and teens.
On a sunny, breezy afternoon, about 25 parents and children came out to watch the Boxtales Theatre Company put on a bilingual performance called “Leyendas De Duende,” an act by the group which showcased both Mexican and Puerto Rican folklore using music, dance and humor.
The three men intrigued the crowd with their bongo drums and first skit, titled “La Calavera.” The story followed a father who ventures out to find a godparent for his twelfth child.
As the three men interchanged roles on stage, the beat of the drums barely ceased. Some heads in the crowd even began to bob in unison with the rhythm of the bongos.
The group then performed a skit called “Paco and the Witch,” a Puerto Rican tale which follows a boy who is taken prisoner by a witch. The only way for Paco to return home is to say the witch’s name, which he eventually learned from a crab. According to Puerto Rican folklore, the reason crabs run away from humans is that they believe it is the witch who seeks revenge on them for telling Paco her name.
The group concluded their performance by highlighting the importance of libraries to the children in the audience, emphasizing they get all the inspiration and information for their skits from books they check out at their local library.
Stopping by the performance with her daughters was Upland resident Jennifer Diaz, who said she heard music coming from Shelton Park and wanted to find out what was happening.
“It’s sort of routine to hang out here at the Village, or at the park and come to Pepo Melo,” she said. “When I heard the music I was like ‘Great I don’t have to go to the park.’”
Sitting with her two children, Ms. Diaz shook her head ‘no’ when asked if she had any fears about COVID-19 in the back of her mind while attending the performance.
“I mean it’s just normal and…I stay out a little more just because I’m tired of taking them home,” she said. “She’s been home all day and we’re going to be home the rest of the evening so it’s just getting back to normal, getting out of the house.”
Although activities are returning, the pandemic remains active, which means attendees of library events will have to wear masks at all times, remain socially distanced and must register for the event beforehand. Attendance is limited to 30 participants, but residents can join a waitlist for future events in case a spot opens up.
Despite the [routine] COVID changes, Ms. Truick said families can and should come out for fun activities.
On May 26, L.A. County Library issued a news release, which stated the outdoor programs events would resume on June 1 and continue through August 31. Parents and caregivers can register for events at the Claremont Helen Renwick Library or other libraries at the county’s website,
Activities are scheduled for every Tuesday at the Claremont branch. Events are divided by age group: three-to-five-year-olds will begin their fun times at 11 a.m., while those between the ages of six and 17 will start their scheduled events at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
For more information on the L.A. County Library’s outdoor programs, visit For information on the Claremont Helen Renwick Library and their events, call them at (909) 621-4902 or stop by at the corner of Harvard and Second Street.

by Andrew Alonzo |


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