Nfld. & Labrador

Fundraising campaign saves St. John's Teddy Bear Picnic

Children's entertainer Terry Rielly says the $3,500 in donations that came in through a GoFundMe page this year will allow the festival to go ahead next weekend.
Terry Rielly says he's received enough donations to run this year's Teddy Bear Picnic. (Brian Carey)

This year's running of the famed Teddy Bear Picnic in St. John's has been secured, thanks to an online fundraising haul.

Children's entertainer Terry Rielly says the $3,500 in donations that came in through a GoFundMe page this year will allow the festival to go ahead next weekend.

"The response was quiet phenomenal to be honest. Very humbling too. So it's a definite go," he told CBC Radio's Weekend AM.

Rielly says the fate of the picnic was in doubt, after he lost his yearly funding from the City of St. John's last year.

But the online fundraiser — which Rielly says he was reluctant to start — means the festival is back and as big as ever.

"We've raised enough money to have members of Wonderbot Circus there, really awesome face painting, all of the usually things and a couple extra things too," he says.

The event starts at noon on July 16 at Bannerman Park in St. John's.

Payback

The entertainer says the $3,500 raised this year is enough for him to give something back to all of those who've helped him over the years.

He usually runs the event on a tighter budget.

"This give me a chance to say a little bit of a thank you, besides my hug," he said.

Still, Reilly says he's working on finding a sponsor for the event next year, to let him take a step back from the planning of the event.

"I am getting a little older, and I'm feeling like it's time to slow down a little bit."

With files from Weekend AM

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