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Teddy Bears Picnic offered fun for the whole family

“It started back in the 1980s and has been held in one of our oldest city parks since that time. It's a really great community event,” Karen Kadolph said.

THUNDER BAY – The Teddy Bears Picnic was a huge hit again this year with thousands in attendance at Vickers Park on Tuesday.

Six-year-old Parker Vacek-Low was very excited to be at the Teddy Bears Picnic.

“All the teddy bears and the new park” were his favourite parts of the whole event.

Vacek-Low said he had not been on the new play equipment yet – but was excited to try it.

He brought with him his favourite teddy bear, which he got for his birthday, ‘Pokémon bear.’

Karen Kadolph, special events developer with the City of Thunder Bay, said this is one of the oldest running events held by the city.

“It started back in the 1980s and has been held in one of our oldest city parks since that time. It's a really great community event,” she said.

There were tons of different things going on at the picnic, Kadolph said.

“We have close to 30 different types of community groups that are here. We also have our food vendors, and we've got our Boo Boo Bear Station, which is always very popular because everybody needs to get their stuff mended every once in a while.

“Kids can bring their stuffed animals and if they need to be mended we will sew them,” Kadolph said, adding they also have bandages and doctors’ kits to do a little health check up on a teddy bear.

They had Canadian children’s author Lana Button reading some of her books on stage, she said, along with Eric the Juggler showing off his awesome tricks.

“And we have our enchanted story time tent where you can find different groups reading to children, along with a face painting station and a bubble station,” she said.

The new playground at Vickers Park was open and being well used at the Teddy Bears Picnic. Kadolph was very excited to see everyone enjoying it.

“We have our teddy bear parade, too, where we parade around the park. Everybody can join if they would like,” she said.

Science North was also in attendance doing a science show. The final performer at the picnic was Rodney Brown offering musical entertainment, she said.

“This is a free community event - we hope to see at least 3,000 to 4,000 people here today.

“Last year was the first year after COVID that we were able to bring it back. This year it's come back even bigger, always bigger and better,” Kadolph said.

This is a great opportunity for the community to come out, she said.

“This is really geared to younger ages, but at the same time we want everybody to come. We've got a lot of older people that are also here. It's always nice to reminisce and go, ‘I remember when I brought my kids.’

“We see a good mix of people with our community groups.”

There are lots of different resources, Kadolph said, adding that it was a good opportunity for families and parents to learn what’s available to them.

“We do also have Live on the Waterfront coming up. That starts next Wednesday evening and goes until the end of August.

“That is, again, free community events every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Marina Park."

Movie nights will also be returning as part of the community programming, Kadolph said.

“Come out and if anybody is ever interested in being a part of any of our events, you can reach out to our email and we would be happy to hear from people."

Olivia Browning

About the Author: Olivia Browning

Olivia’s major life passion would have to be a tie between reading and writing.
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