“Today is about the homeschool community and really catering to them and giving them an opportunity to get together and meet locals from this area,” said Emerald Dennis, founder and director of Root & Arrow Homeschool Co-op in Holly Hill.

And what better way to do that than with a Teddy Bears’ Picnic, based on the book by Jimmy Kennedy.

On Tuesday, around 200 children took to Gilmore Park – along with a few teddy bears too, of course.

“’Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ is a book. A lot of people read this book growing up. The teddy bears all get together and they have a big picnic,” Dennis said, “so all the kids were invited to bring their little teddy bears.”

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“We just launched our (homeschool) co-op in Holly Hill and this the big event we’ve opened up to the homeschool community. And it looks like we’ll do it next year too,” she said.

Children enjoyed crafts, coloring contests and games.

People are also reading…

Live music was provided by Faith Santee.

The Holly Hill Library held story time in various intervals where youth services librarian, Madison Thornley, read “Teddy Bears’ Picnic.”

Crosswind Farm Mobile Petting Zoo even had a cow that looked like a bear there.

Her name is Mooana and her brown shaggy hair hangs over her eyes and her ears are fuzzy. The signature look of the Scottish Highland breed.

Moona was there with her friends too: a donkey named Waffles, a dwarf goat named Rona, a llama named Dolly and a dairy cow named Otis.

Ten-year-old Lucia Travaglio of Holly Hill said she enjoys all of the animals at the Teddy Bears’ Picnic.

“But I mostly like chickens because I have 31 of them,” she said.

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Her mother, Catherine Travaglio, said, “It’s great. It’s a very nice event.”

Amiah Burke, 18, of Summerville, volunteered at the teddy bear adoption table. Dozens of teddy bears were available for the taking by any child who decided to take one home with them.

“They love it! The kids are having fun!” she said.

“They’re pretty much all gone,” she added, looking at the remaining teddy bears.

Her mother, Tricia Burke, is part of the homeschool co-op along with her children.

“It’s great for the community to come together and meet,” she said.

One of her sons, Raylan Burke, 6, has a lung disease, she said.

She’d homeschooled her children a few years ago, then enrolled her children in school for a while.

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But with the school shutdowns during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns for her son’s health, “We decided to go with homeschooling. It’s nice to have homeschooling as an option,” she said.

“We’re here to make some homeschooling friends and do something we normally don’t get to do on a weekday,” said Samara Batt as she held her 23-month-old son Cason Batt, both of Summerville.

Batt plans to homeschool her son when he’s old enough.

Holly Hill homeschool parenting coach Marea Parson said, “There are so many options in Holly Hill for homeschoolers.”

“We used to go to Summerville for everything,” she said.

Courtenay Middleton, who’s part of the Root & Arrow homeschooling co-op and lives in Holly Hill, said Tuesday’s nice weather helped make the Teddy Bears’ picnic enjoyable too.

“I’m surprised to see so many people,” she said.

The Teddy Bears’ Picnic also included a parade in the park and a life-size teddy bear.

“Beary nice to meet you,” the bear said.

Root & Arrow homeschool co-op hosts a monthly event for its members. May’s event was the Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Next month, members of the Root & Arrow homeschool co-op are invited to a pool party at the Holly Hill Country Club.

For more information about Root & Arrow homeschool co-op and future events, visit their website at www.rootandarrow.org.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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