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August 11. 2013 7:31PM

With teddy bears in tow, families gather for a picnic

NASHUA — Anyone who went out in the woods Saturday in Nashua was in for a big surprise.It was the day that the bears, their owners and their families decided to get together at the Teddy Bear Picnic hosted by the YMCA.

"It's our first one," said Tiffany Joslin, a program director at the Y. "We wanted to offer something fun for our families. It's really just a way to give everybody a chance to spend some time together."Families and bears came and spread blankets and had lunch together. Parents took turns minding bears and other stuffed animals as kids slipped off to play games, decorate cookies or to have their faces painted.

"My daughter, Ava, loves the Y, so it seemed like a perfect afternoon thing to do," said Colleen Murphy, who also brought her niece, Savannah, who had her toy mermaid stand in for a teddy bear.

The Marchant family of Bedford drove down to Nashua so Cameron, 7, and Ryan, 5, could have lunch with their collection of toy friends.

"It was a nice chance to get outside before they started wrestling," said the boys' dad.

Picnics with stuffed bears usually draw inspiration for the 1907 song by John Walter Bratton. The lyrics, which describe bears dancing around the woods with no worries, were added in 1932 by Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy.

Joslin said the Y didn't have a boom box handy so their wasn't any teddy bear soundtrack this year. But the YMCA has an ongoing schedule of family-friendly dances and parties, and teddy bears who missed the music and dancing on Saturday are always welcomed back for other events.


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