Masterton Rotary Club’s annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

Emma Brown

The annual Masterton Rotary Teddy Bears’ Picnic for all things cuddly is back this weekend.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out with their soft toys for the grand picnic at Henley Lake wetlands.

In previous years each bear arrives with on average 3.5 people attached.

Organisers are looking forward to running the event again after last year’s picnic was cancelled due to high winds and severe rain.

New Masterton Rotary Club Rotarian Jill Stringer said the family event encouraged community spirit and enjoying the outdoors.

“It is getting back to basics”, she said, “so families can have fun together.”

Having only just joined Masterton Rotary club recently, she said there is nothing like hitting the ground running and helping with such a fun event.

“Nothing sounds as good as kids’ laughter.

“At events like this you get to see things through a kid’s perspective and what they see as magical.”

She said strong support from willing volunteers made the day possible.

“You’ve just got to ask, and they say I’ll do it.”

The reaction she got from people at schools while dropping off flyers was encouraging.

“Oh, exciting it’s that time of year already.”

Launched in the early 2000s, the picnic runs from 11.30am to 1.30pm on Saturday at the Henley Lake wetlands – directions will be well signposted.

There will be a teddy parade as well as mirrors, hair braiding, balloon magic and a lolly scramble.

“If it is as hot as it has been this week, at least there is a lot of shade,” Stringer said.

Henley Lake was a great facility and it was good to see it being utilised by all ages, she said.