Connor Craigo, 2, enjoyed a lazy Thursday afternoon in the sun laying back on his father, Daniel, with his stuffed puppy “Dog” in one hand and a messy peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the other.
The two lounged on the lawn behind the Columbia County Library for the second annual Teddy bear Picnic, a Masters Week family event.
“This is only the second time that we had it,” said Vivian Coulson, a children’s specialist at the library in Evans. “It was a big success last year.”
Coulson said about 200 children brought their furry friends to the inaugural event last year that also included a sleepover for the stuffed friends and a breakfast the following morning.
About 50 children gathered with stuffed friends – ranging from stuffed bears and dogs to dragons and unicorns – on a tarp to keep from getting wet on the soggy grass to for story time featuring “The Teddy Bear Picnic.”
Families gathered on blankets for picnic lunches before activities like golfing and hooping and parachute games.
Coulson said she just wanted a special family event during spring break.
“To me, it’s more of a family get together,” Coulson said. “That’s my big aim, to get the family together and let them spend time together. They can come out here and enjoy themselves. A lot of people just don’t do the old-fashioned picnics any more.”
Some children made new friends at the event. Ruthie Jackson, 4, and Natalee Strange, 6, are both relatively new to the area as their families moved to Columbia County less than a year ago.
They became fast friends comparing each other’s stuffed animals and sharing snacks.
Daniel Jarnigan Jr., 2, squeezed his camouflaged teddy bear, Davey, as he listed to the story. His mother, Jackie, said he very much enjoys library events with Coulson.
“He loves Ms. Vivian,” Jarnigan said. “He’s been coming to Ms. Vivian since he was little.”