Approximately 185 parents and children, along with their teddy bears, filled Foxborough Common Thursday morning for the Friends of the Boyden Library’s 22nd annual Teddy Bear Picnic.
Singer, songwriter and storyteller, Tina Stone of Wrentham once again provided the children with musical entertainment as they danced and played with their teddy bears, paraded around the Common and visited with Smokey the Bear.
Margi Rossetti, children's librarian at Boyden, said the annual event is part of the library’s summer reading program.
“It is just a fun day for the children,” Rossetti said.
The library also uses the event as a way to “jump start Boyden Library’s Holiday Discretionary Fund Book Drive,” according to Rossetti. Families were invited to bring children’s books and drop them off at the stage for the book drive.
Stone led the children in song and dance with original tunes – something that never gets old for the passionate and energetic entertainer. She has performed annually at the picnic in Foxborough for the past 15 years.
“It’s nice to see everybody together and that’s what I like about it,” Stone said. “I know a lot of the kids in the neighborhoods because I sing at the schools. Most of them know me so whenever I’m on stage they get excited. It’s great because Foxborough is one of my client towns and it’s a great community.”
Stone has been a singer, songwriter and storyteller with Tunes ‘n Tales for nearly two decades now and says she considers herself the “luckiest person in the world” because she gets to make a living doing what she loves.
“I’ve been doing Tunes ‘n Tales for 15 years,” Stone said. “Margi [Rossetti] called me in my first year of business and I was scared to pieces … I never did this [kind of performance] in front of anybody before.”
But she did have prior experience working with children, which helped calm her nerves.
“I was a classroom teacher for seven years and I always loved singing so I picked up a guitar at 45 years of age and learned to play a few chords and after I had been playing for about six months Margi called and asked if I wanted to do a Teddy Bear Picnic,” Stone said. “I said ‘yes, of course’ and the rest is as they say, history.”
The picnic began at 10 a.m. Thursday with children, their teddy bears and parents scattered throughout the Common on blankets and towels near the stage.
Stone greeted the audience and began performing her popular teddy bear tales.
Children danced with their teddy bears, sang along, clapped and when instructed by Stone, even tossed their bears in the air.
The children later received a visit from Smokey the Bear, who high fived, shook hands and hugged many of the excited youngsters to see him at the Common.
After Smokey left to “return to the woods,” Rossetti led the children in a parade with their teddy bears around the Common.
Stone then wrapped up her performance with a few more tunes and the picnic was over shortly before 11 a.m.
But Stone stuck around to say hi to the children and their families. For the Tunes 'n Tales performer, it was another year of bringing the community together and having fun on stage.
“I love bringing everyone together and I love what I do,” Stone said. “I don’t think people sing enough anymore. I grew up with a grandmother and great-grandmother and we were always singing. So with this, it reminds me of those times when families and the community came together to sing and that’s the best part.”