Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

It seems getting wet's a tradition at the Teddy Bears Picnic

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Jason Halstead / Winnipeg Free Press

Dr. El Simons, an allergy specialist, helps out 10-year-old Afrika Small-Denbook's teddy bear.

That stuff about rain not dampening the spirits, that's just a cliché, right?

A true cliché.

Thousands of people didn't let a little rain -- OK, a lot of rain -- deter them from attending the 28th annual Teddy Bears Picnic Sunday at Assiniboine Park.

After all, as one organizer pointed out, everything happens inside tents. Dry tents.

"Four years ago was the last time it was actually sunny," laughed dad Mark Moffatt. "It's almost a tradition. They make a lot of effort; they don't leave you out in the rain." This was six straight years of attending, said Moffatt, who was with sons William, 10, and Logan, six.

William said his favourite activities are "doing arts and crafts, games. It's six years; raining or not, I still want to come.

"I don't have a bear, but I do have a snake" with issues that needed tending to at the various medical stations.

Brian Frost said he and wife, Tiffany, hesitated Sunday morning "for a brief moment in time -- we had to come. Our daughter loves the medical tent, putting the cast on her bear."

Both Brian and Tiffany came when they were kids, and now have five-year-old Hailey and 10-month-old Gavin.

"This is his first one," Tiffany pointed out. As for the rain, "Run to the next tent," she advised with a laugh.

"It's much more fun when it's sunny," said Jen Delrosere, supervising her daughter's arts and crafts.

"If it was two degrees and raining, that would be different," mom Erin Normand said.

"This is our second time," she said, as five-year-old daughter Mira waited her turn to have Canadian Forces medics check out her bear's woes.

"You've been talking a lot about Dr. Goodbear," Normand told her daughter.

None of the kids was having any more fun than Lt. Steven Hunt, a military reservist and St. Edward's School teacher who was overseeing the 17 Field Ambulance team of a dozen medics.

There was only room for a dozen medics, though he had far more volunteers who would have loved to come Sunday, said Hunt.

"I love it -- this is my fifth year in a row. We're fixing broken arms, we're doing physicals, blood pressure, heart rates, face painting," he said, suddenly breaking away with a big grin to ask a little boy if he'd like to drive the field ambulance.

Into the driver's seat went the lad.

Meanwhile, there was a lineup to get into the back of the ambulance.

"They can put their teddy bear on the stretcher, and sit where my medics sit," Hunt said.

"This is our third year in a row with rain, but I've got my sunscreen here just in case," Hunt said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 26, 2014 B1

History

Updated on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 6:39 AM CDT: Replaces photo, changes headline

7:19 AM: Adds slideshow

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