VERO BEACH — Over the past 15 years or so, the Vero Beach Book Center’s Bubble Wrap Explosion has become as much a part of the Fourth of July for local kids as cookouts and fireworks.
All year, the book center staff hoards bubble wrap packaging when they open boxes and shipments, only to recycle it to be stomped on by hundreds of little feet as Independence Day approaches. Bubble wrap, when squashed by a huge roomful of kids at once, makes a sound like fireworks, but it’s safe, it’s not weather-dependent and it’s especially for kids.
“Miss Julie” Dossantos said the event is one of her favorites because it gives kids their own special way of celebrating the holiday.
“So many kids can’t stay up late enough on the Fourth of July to watch the real fireworks so this gives them a chance to make their own fun,” said Miss Julie, who entertains the kids during weekly Friday morning story time when she’s not serving as ringleader for the book center’s dozens of special, themed events throughout the year.
To help build the anticipation of the countdown to stomp on sheets of bubble wrap covering the floor of the center of the bookstore, Miss Julie led the kids in telling stories of Olivia the pig and Curious George the ever-adventurous monkey. Children also had the opportunity to make two crafts — a red-white-and-blue beaded bracelet and a hand-decorated parade streamer made with paper plates.
All the morning’s activities were free and the Vero Beach Book Center even provided snacks to fuel the fun. Sprinkle cookies and punch helped get kids jazzed for the heavy-duty footwork needed to pop all those plastic bubbles.
All decked out in spirited garb and sugared up on cookies and punch, the revelers then paraded around the store to the beat of drums and brass instruments playing patriotic music. Even some of the parents got into the act and marched along.
Finally the countdown and the time to stomp on the bubble wrap.
Treasure Coast Elementary teacher Megan Breschia of Vero Beach brought 4-year-old Madison and 14-month-old Drew to join in the fun. It was the family’s second go at the Bubble Wrap Explosion in so many years.
“Madison’s favorite things are the craft and the actual bubble wrap explosion,” Breschia said. “It’s a great thing for the community and this is so nice for the little ones, they don’t get drowned out by the bigger kids.”
The next Vero Beach Book Center’s Children’s Store special event will be the Mad Scientist Party at 11 a.m. July 16. For more information about book signings, opportunities to meet authors and special events at the Vero Beach Book Center and the Children’s Store, go to www.verobeachbookcenter.com.