Grab a blanket or a lawn chair, and come out for Poetry in the Park today from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Osbon Park.

Throughout the night, residents will be invited to take the microphone and share a poem or short story with the audience.

This event is part of a series sponsored by the Aiken Department of Public Safety and River of Life Church as a part of the Safe Communities initiative.

Travis Thomas, River of Life Church youth and outreach director, is the event coordinator.

His inspiration for this poetry-centered series came from a music cafe opening at the church next month, he said.

He approached Cynthia Mitchell, ADPS community services coordinator, about the idea. Coincidentally, she already had a similar event in the works. The two, then, decided to pull together.

Thomas wanted to see the readings happen at “underused parks.”

The poems and short stories can be either original or classic piece.

“The only requirement we ask is that the material is clean and wholesome,” said Mitchell. “There are very talented artists in Aiken. We just want the community to share with others.”

Thomas starts each session by reading one of his own works, usually faith-based or social issue-centered.

“We also try to bring in live artists to play,” he said.

There is an intermission with refreshments, Thomas said.

The first poetry reading was held at Charleston Street Park on June 22.

While there was a small turnout, everyone who attended enjoyed themselves, said Thomas.

“It was like we were sitting in a friend’s backyard,” said Mitchell.

For more information, call Mitchell at 803-642-7780.

Thomas also said he is open for ideas on events that anyone would like to see happen in the community.

If you have any ideas, email Thomas at or call him at 803-648-4047.