LAKE PLACID - The Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid will hold its 2014 Teddy Bear Picnic at the park on Hillcrest Avenue on Sunday, Sept. 21.
Registration for small children will begin at 11 a.m., and there is no charge.
In August 1993, the Hillcrest Village Park was, for the first time, alive with large numbers of small children toting their favorite teddy bears. Accompanied by parents and siblings, those 7 years old and younger were duly registered as honored guests at this first local festival.
The event was designed to not only make these youngest citizens feel special, but to educate them about their world and community in a favorable "warm and fuzzy" environment.
This children's festival, created as a Kiwanis Club of Lake Placid Community Service Project, has endured and in recent years the club formally adopted the park, equipping it with a specialized small children's playground and the name of this Village Park was officially changed to Teddy Bear Park. This year, the babies that came to the first Teddy Bear Picnic, in strollers and backpacks, will have turned 21. The preschoolers who came in 1993 might be present this year with their own little children.
Attending this first Teddy Bear Picnic were Smokey Bear and his ranger. They will again be at the park during Smokey's 70th anniversary. The ranger and Smokey Bear plan to educate the children as to how to conduct themselves in our wilderness and encourage them to honor our forests and learn how to prevent forest fires.
The Kiwanis Club is also happy to announce that they are welcoming back for this special year one of the favorite features from the past. Waluba, the African drummers under the direction of James Gann and Karen Kan, will be playing for dancing after the parade. When they last came to Teddy Bear Picnic, Waluba had bears, kids, parents, Senior citizens and officials dancing way past the official closing of the event.
The theme of the 2014 Teddy Bear Picnic will be "The Teddy Bears Celebrate the Winter Olympics." In keeping with this theme, the mascot from Lake Placid's 1980 Winter Olympics Roni Racoon will be arriving at the park straight from his home at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. He plans to play with the children and provide photo opportunities.
The grand marshal of this year's picnic will be announced the week prior to the event. Here is a hint. This person was present at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The junior grand marshal will be chosen from lottery tickets issued to the small children at registration and this child will ride in the parade in a special vehicle along with a parent or guardian.