On Saturday August 11th, about 70 people packed the little green space beside the Hamlet of New Sarepta's Village Office, to enjoy some yummy barbequed burgers and hotdogs, games, balloons, and face painting. It was also a unique opportunity for the younger crowd to take their teddy bears out for a bit of sunshine, fresh air and socializing.
New Sarepta's Annual Teddy Bear Picnic was put on by the County of Leduc, and hosted by the County Councillor for that area, Jocelyn Mackay. Just prior to the beginning of the picnic, local seniors, Jocelyn, various dignitaries and two Communities In Bloom Judges from Thorsby, Fay and Fred Purdy, took a bus tour of the Hamlet and viewed some stunning local gardens within the community.
In her speech thanking everyone for coming down to enjoy the afternoon, Councillor Mackay introduced Barry Rasch, the Mayor of Thorsby, who, when handed the microphone, explained that he felt communities within the County of Leduc would do well to begin working closer together and sharing ideas. He stated that he was excited to be given a tour of local gardens in New Sarepta, and that he had gathered many ideas that he believes would benefit and beautify his town as well. He extended the offer of returning the favour by taking interested parties from New Sarepta on a garden tour of Thorsby next summer.
Even though New Sarepta had not entered the official Communities In Bloom competition this year, judges Fred and Fay were excited to see what The Hamlet had to offer. Most of the flower pots placed around the Hamlet were donated by William and Mika Munsey, owners of New Sarepta Garden Greenhouse, who are avid supporters of their community. Fred commented that New Sarepta had a lot of "character" to it and along with the flowers and gardens on display, he thought the hamlet could really be turned into something special with the murals spread around town, along with all the interesting and beautiful antique buildings that are still standing. Fay dubbed New Sarepta a "cool place!"
And "cool place" it certainly was on this Saturday! The Teddy Bear Picnic was a completely free family event, with the only charge coming from a toonie BBQ. For the kids there was a bouncy house, face painting, a roaming magician, a balloon artist and clown, a table with Play Doh and accessories, and a big pile of hula hoops, as well as a few carnival style games that encouraged some friendly competition between anyone young at heart. St. John's Ambulance was also there, along with a teddy bear "patient" who was wrapped in bandages and band aids and even had a teddy sized splint on his arm. A volunteer from St. John's Ambulance was on hand to talk to kids about how to stay safe, and was happy to bandage up any of the kid's teddies that came in with boo-boos as well. Another big hit of the picnic were the free cookies and mini cupcakes that the kids took full advantage of.
Nearing the end of the afternoon there was a free draw for a large basket of summer essentials and goodies that included towels, sunscreen, flip flops, and a ton of other fun things geared toward the hot summer months. Once all the entries were in, the name drawn belonged to little Mackenzie Kosinski, who is just four years old, and was thrilled to have won a basket that was almost as big as she was!
The New Sarepta Teddy Bear Picnic showcased the Hamlet for the beautiful and welcoming community it is. Overall, the picnic took place on a perfect, sunny, Alberta afternoon, in a lovely location showcasing some real flowers and flower murals, and was filled with fun, games and good food for everyone. If there was a better way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon I don't know what that would have been.