Discover the StoryWalk® Trail: Books & Blankets Event

March 24, 2024

The Joe R. Adair Outdoor Education Center, The Laurens County Literacy Association and Laurens County First Steps will celebrate the grand opening of the first Laurens County First Steps StoryWalk® Trail Project on Saturday, April 13th with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:00 am followed by the Books and Blankets event.  

All are invited to join us at the Adair Center, located at 110 Scout Creek Court in Laurens.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their blankets and favorite books for a cozy reading session surrounded by nature’s beauty. Healthy picnic snacks provided by District 55 and District 56 will be available for everyone to enjoy. Each child attending will receive a free book of their choice.  The Laurens County First Steps StoryWalk® offers a free, fun, and accessible opportunity for families to build and encourage an interest in reading, while promoting physical activity at the same time.

In the 2024 – 2026 Laurens County Strategic Plan, StoryWalks® were identified as a strategy to impact and educate parents and caregivers about their role in their child’s early learning. Laurens County First Steps immediately got to work raising funds.  A grant from the Carolina Panthers Foundation was secured, along with funds raised from the NASCAR Give-a-thon.  Additionally, funds came from the First Steps Scholarship Fund at the Laurens County Community Foundation.  Pitts Steel of Laurens created the kiosks for this project.  Phase 2 of the Laurens County StoryWalk® Project will take place in late 2024 or Spring 2025, with a location in Clinton to be determined. Partial funding for phase 2 has been secured from a grant from the Laurens County Fair Association.

Each kiosk along the StoryWalk® will have two pages from “Bangalee” by Stephen Cosgrove, an author and toy designer.   Bangalee lives in Kritter Castle where few things, if any, are ever put away. A bit of clothing here, a few toys there, everywhere there is clutter and junk. All would have stayed the same had it not been for the appearance of the mysterious and very hungry grunk, who loves to eat clutter and junk. Children of all ages and some adults, too, learn to tidy up with this engaging story.

Included in the kiosks will be information about opportunities for learning activities and early literacy development. Each quarter, along with the Joe Adair staff, Laurens County First Steps will change the book on the trail to go along with the seasons, to reflect local history, or to reflect the different cultures and languages in the county. Staff will also hold several events each year on the trail to help raise awareness about the trail and to encourage Laurens County residents of all ages to use the Joe Adair StoryWalk® Trail and to stay active in Laurens.  

The very first StoryWalk® was created in 2007 by Anne Ferguson from Vermont. Her goal was to have more children in her community become physically active by walking a trail that was visually engaging and would spark their interest. She installed posts along the walking trail and added pages from a picture book to each post that all ages can find joy in. Because of Anne’s commitment and fresh idea, StoryWalk® sites are now in all 50 states and in 12 countries.

Laurens County First Steps and its partners are looking forward to promoting early childhood literacy, physical activity, and hope to see Laurens County residents and visitors complete the StoryWalk® Trail.  For questions, contact Laurens County First Steps at (864) 984-8130 or visit their website for more information at For more information about the StoryWalk® Project visit

Laurens County First Steps is a local nonprofit that works collaboratively to ensure that all children start school ready to reach their highest potential. We achieve this goal by engaging families, caregivers, and community partners in high-quality programs and services that improve early childhood development, from before birth through age five. We also serve as a connector and convener of all early childhood stakeholders in Laurens County.