By Chet Greason, Staff reporter
For the 27th time since 1985, the teddy bears will once again meet in St. Marys to catch up, play games, and discuss whatever issues teddy bears find pertinent.
The Annual Teddy Bear Reunion takes place on Sunday, Aug. 19 at East Ward Park. The parade begins at St. Marys DCVI at 1 p.m., travelling north up James Street before turning east onto Elizabeth Street. The parade ends at the Reunion, where there will be games, vendors, activities, and music to be enjoyed.
New this year will be a prize for the best decorated bike or wagon in the parade. As well, prizes will be awarded to attendants for the following categories:
• For children, awards will be given for the best owner look-alike, the best sportsman teddy, the largest teddy, the best seasonally dressed teddy (any season), and the best formally dressed teddy.
• Adults can win for the best owner look-alike, the best handmade teddy, the oldest teddy exhibitor, the teddy exhibitor who’s farthest from home, and the best career-orientated teddy.
An extra prize will be awarded by the Journal Argus for the individual who came up with the best name for the large teddy pictured on the front page of this edition. Submit your name suggestions at the Journal Argus offices on Wellington Street, Cascade Cleaners on Water Street, or online at the JA’s Facebook page.
Also new this year is the Teddy Bear Swim from 4-5 p.m. at Cadzow Pool. Although teddies are usually somewhat averse to water, their owners can enjoy this free afternoon swim, sponsored by Cascade Cleaners, following the Reunion.
The St. Marys LEO Club, meanwhile, will be holding a water games event in conjunction with the Reunion, from 1-4 p.m. at East Ward Park. It will be held right beside the Teddy Bear Reunion. “Be prepared to get wet!” LEO Club organizers say.
Reunion organizer Marlene Forman says this year’s event is sure to be one of the most memorable yet. You can spot Forman driving around town promoting the event, with two large teddies strapped to the roof of her vehicle. The bears were donated by Costco in London in order to replace three teddies, donated by the OPP a decade ago, who had to be retired due to the wear and tear sustained from all those years atop Forman’s car. Before her, it was her dad, Cliff Elliot, tireless teddy advocate, who could be spotted touring around town with bears on his roof.
Children of all ages are welcome to dress up, bring their bears, and march in the parade. The Teddy Bear Reunion is fun for both young and old. Check it out!