There weren’t just children at the library Tuesday.

They were joined by furry, stuffed creatures for the 17th annual Bear Fair at the Grand Island Public Library.

Celine Swan, the youth and family services librarian, said there were many activities available to children at all three sessions.

Sessions were held at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Children were able to bring a teddy bear, were given bear ears at the entrance, and were able to make a bear craft.

Swan said different services in the community were available to educate parents, grandparents and children about health, car seat safety, as well as other aspects important to childhood development.

Jacob Stines of Stec Cosmetic and Family Dentistry said the Bear Fair gives them a great outlet to speak to children about oral health and why it is important that they brush their teeth.

“It’s good to catch kids when they’re young,” said Stines. “We’re trying to connect with more parents and talk to them about the importance of getting kids to see us sooner.”

Pat Lammers, of Wood River, brought her 3-year-old granddaughter Harlow Doane to the Bear Fair.

Harlow is Lammers’ youngest granddaughter, and Lammers said she has brought almost all of her grandchildren to the Bear Fair throughout the years.

“We like the activities here, and it’s a good thing for the kids to do,” said Lammers. “They’ve always looked forward to it.”

Swan said the Bear Fair started 17 years ago when she and the staff were brainstorming ideas for an event that would get kids excited about reading.

“You know there’s not a lot going on in the winter time, and we were like, ‘We should just have some special event,’” said Swan. “We kind of tossed around the idea of teddy bears and everyone bringing their teddy bears in.”

Swan said the Bear Fair is a way for families to connect teddy bears with literacy and she and the staff hope families will grab some books while at the fair.

Swan said an activity the children enjoy is bearobics, where children can dance around and get some of their energy out.

Eddie the Comfort Dog and Sparky the Healing Hearts Therapy Dog walked around the fair for the children to pet.

Swan said at the 6 p.m. session, high school volunteers came to do face painting, which is something children look forward to.

“We couldn’t do all of the things we want to do without all of the great volunteers,” Swan said.

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