Who Said That?
Parents and children gathered at Bostwick Community Library to meet lively characters like Jigsaw the Dalmatian, Spaceman Sam and Glorp, a back-talking alien looking for a way back to his home planet.
These characters came from the mind of Mark Wade, an internationally known ventriloquist currently touring branches of the Putnam County Library System for the next week for his “Out of this World Library Show.”
The show in Bostwick is in keeping with the space-themed events at the library this summer as librarians continue to encourage children to read. Friday featured Wade’s first two shows in Putnam County, the first of which was at the library system’s Palatka location.
“I had a great time, and I think the audience did so, too,” said Wade, who was named “Ventriloquist of the Year” in 1980. “We had some laughs and I taught them a little bit about space.”
The show frequently involved members of the audience, who sat cramped in chairs anticipating the next segment of the show. None were disappointed, including some of the older children in the audience.
That includes Jynia Bailey, 11, the first volunteer to help with the performance. She held up a dry-erase board of a space alien called Art, whose mouth Wade was able to control as part of the segment.
“I thought he would pick someone else, but then he picked me,” said Bailey, who begins sixth grade next school year. “I thought it was funny because of the way he was acting. It was a cool show.”
A semi-retired ventriloquist, Wade has 38 years of experience performing for large crowds as
well as small venues for both children and adults.
He also has a bestselling book teaching would-be entertainers how to perform for all ages, called “Kidshow Ventriloquism.”
Now living in Melbourne, Wade said he is using his talents helping keep the minds of children sharp while ensuring his skills don’t go unpracticed. One of the refrains in Friday’s performance is the mantra the library is trying to instill in the children who visit.
“Read, read, read and read some more,” he said. “The idea is to keep on learning.”
Library Branch Manager Lora Arrington said Bostwick and other municipal branches in the county invited Wade to perform to provide creative activities for children now that classes are out for the summer.
“The energy here was phenomenal,” she said. “Having this library stay alive like that is paramount to Bostwick not just as a place for people to tap into knowledge but to come together as a community. That’s what we try to convey here.”
Wade’s tour continues 10 a.m. today at Crescent City Library, 610 Summit St. Next week, he will perform 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Interlachen and Melrose locations, respectively.