Chilly the penguin is going to the movies this year.
For eight years, the Hays Public Library staff has produced a children’s book in conjunction with Frost Fest, and the character has become somewhat of a mascot for the library, HPL Adult Services Librarian Samantha Gill said.
“Chilly would be hard to give up. He’s pretty well-known,” she said.
Each year since 2011, the library has created the book and float to fit the theme of the annual downtown Christmas parade, which this year is Christmas Flicks on the Bricks.
The library had entered floats in the parade since 2001, and Chilly gave the library some new ideas, HPL director Brandon Hines said. It was actually he and his wife who created the first book in 2011, when he was the young adult and children’s services librarian.
“We kind of got burned out on the float creation, so to add Chilly to that was nice because we had more to go off of, like having a plan almost in place every year,” he said.
Hines returned to the Hays library as director this summer, and said he was pleased to see Chilly’s adventures had continued after he left.
“That was one of my biggest surprises when I came back. I didn’t know they were still doing it,” he said.
The library staff begins planning the book in July, Gill said, and they try to create a story around the parade theme.
Nicole Thibodeau, library assistant in the young adult department and an artist, does much of the drawings for the book, Gill said, but the entire staff contributes.
“It’s kind of a team effort to do the water color and the painting and everything. We have other staff that their strong suit is writing. We have a couple of English majors, they do they proof checking. It’s really a team effort,” she said.
The book is printed at Northwestern Printers, 114 W. Ninth.
The library will feature Frost Fest related activities all day Saturday, and Hines said they’ve prepared for the crowds by scheduling extra staff.
Tickets for the breakfast and brunch with Santa are gone with waiting lists already started, Hines and Gill said. Pictures with Santa will be available for an hour after the breakfast, at 10 a.m. and again after the brunch at noon.
The staff expects the afternoon photo opportunity to be popular also. From 3 to 5 p.m., children can have their pictures taken with characters from Disney’s “Frozen,” which will also be shown in the gallery, and “Paw Patrol” in the children’s department.
The library will close at 5 p.m. as normal, but will open its doors again at 5:15 p.m. to offer a warm place to watch the parade from. Space will be limited, as only the second floor has windows overlooking Main Street.
“We’re probably limited to 25 to 30 people upstairs with a good view,” Hines said.
The lighted Christmas parade begins at 6 p.m. When the parade starts through one hour after it ends, the public can vote on the People’s Choice Award by texting the name or number of their favorite float to 785-639-4297. To see the list of eligible entries and for more details on Frost Fest events, see the Bricks in Downtown Hays Facebook page.
Frost Fest activities in downtown Hays
• 4 to 6 p.m., pictures with Santa, Platinum Group.
• Extended shopping hours downtown until 7 p.m.
• 6 to 7:30 p.m., Santa at Diamond R Jewelry, 807 Main.
Events at Hays Public Library:
• 9 a.m., breakfast with Santa
• 10 a.m., pictures with Santa
• 11 a.m., brunch with Santa
• Noon, pictures with Santa
• 1 to 2 p.m., Christmas carolers and hot chocolate bar
• 3 to 5p.m., pictures with Disney’s “Frozen” and “Paw Patrol” characters and screening of “Frozen”
• 4 to 6 p.m., Holiday Open House, Southwind Crossfit, 229 W. 10th
• 6 p.m., Frostfest parade, Main Street