A seven-foot-tall black bear – someone in a costume of course – led a parade of 450 Park View Elementary School students Tuesday morning through Ripon’s Chesapeake Landing age-restricted neighborhood homes where seniors came outdoors to watch the colorful Halloween parade.
Residential manager Karen Vogel made no hesitation in hugging the two legged “animal” as it strode near the community club house with her grinning ear to ear. The bear and costumed older students led the parade around behind the swimming pool and by some of the 100 homes in the tight knit community of mostly retirees.
School Principal Eva Mathews remained at the entrance of the facility that is just across Calhoun Street to the east of the school where she continually monitored her children. Vogel and Matthews are already looking toward a bigger and better Halloween with their neighbors for next year that will include music and prizes for the best dressed boys and girls at each grade level after many said they were impressed by the decorum of the students of all ages.
They are expected to ask the Chesapeake Landing residents to be their judges in the costume contest next October.
It was a big event for the teaching staff who had to control the logistics of the children bringing their costumes to school and being ready on time to like up on campus guided by yellow caution tape that controlled the parade’s direction. Then, there were adult road guards with conventional red stop signs they used to direct the occasional car or truck – with just a word from the road guards the boys and girls automatically responded without question.
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