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Annual Teddy Bear Picnic plants seeds of learning

Local NewsAnnual Teddy Bear Picnic plants seeds of learning

Despite the rain, nearly 200 residents attended the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear Picnic at the Burford Fairgrounds on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

The free event was hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Paris-Brant and was based on a previous long-standing “Teddy Bear Clinic” event held by the organization.

Andrew Plumstead from St. John’s Ambulance, fixes up a teddy bear during the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear picnic on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

Sheila Moore, President of the local Kiwanis Club, said that while the sun wasn’t shining, she was thrilled with the day’s turnout.

“We were really worried when we saw that it was going to rain today because the intent was to have it outdoors and we had everything all plotted out and ready to go, but we are just so pleasantly surprised and so happy that everyone has come out today,” she said.

One youngster plays in a puddle during the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear picnic on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

This year’s two-hour picnic featured several activities for the youngsters in attendance such as three Barry O’ kid shows and games like “pin the heart on the teddy,” plant the ping pong ball, a bean bag toss and Jenga.

The Burford library was also on site with several teddy bear themed books and different crafts for the kids, while the next table over, helped children plant their very own flower seed to take home.

Kiwanis member Peter Tudisco, inspects various teddy bears for the most creatively dressed contest during the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear picnic on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

In another corner of the room, children wasted no time in getting their face painted or waiting in line for a balloon creation while just outside, others made sure to visit the teddy bear clinic to get a check-up for a wide variety of stuffed animal ailments.

Barry O’ leads kids in a stop and go dance during the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear picnic on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

Andrew Plumstead from St. John’s Ambulance was one of three volunteers on-hand providing “medical care” for the teddy bears.

Towards the end of the event, Moore announced the winner of the “guess how many jellybeans are in the jar” game and “pin the heart on the teddy,” as well as the winner of the art contest (two categories: ages five and under, and ages six to eight). Judges also later determined the two winners of most creatively dressed teddy bear or treasured companion.

Children happily show off their balloon arrow during the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear picnic on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

Moore said that the annual event was designed to be more than just a bundle of fun, but an opportunity to play and grow.

“Our mandate is to give kids the tools they need to thrive and grow so they’re all having a ball but meanwhile, they’re also testing their skills and learning new things without even realizing it,” said Moore. “From the games to the art contest, the crafts and even interacting with the firefighters and the St. John’s Ambulance, it’s all designed to let them be creative and learn. There isn’t an iPad or an iPhone or anything like that to be found here, it’s all just good old fashioned fun to test their little skills and get them thinking.”

Youngsters work on teddy bear crafts during the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear picnic on Sunday, June 2, 2024.
One mom helps her toddler to plant a seed during the third annual Kiwanis Teddy Bear picnic on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

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