Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hippity Hoppin' through a San Marco Tradition

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hippity Hoppin' through a San Marco Tradition

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland

A 6-foot white rabbit with a carrot recently led a group of children through San Marco Square in a ritual that goes back close to 60 years. Wearing "designer" hats, the children from South Jacksonville Presbyterian Preschool chanted "Follow that bunny" as they marched in the school's annual Easter parade.

For the past few years, Bill Galbreath, whose wife is a teacher at the school, has played the bunny, hip hopping along the route. He high-fived police who kept traffic at bay as the kids crossed the streets from their school at 2137 Hendricks Ave. and past shops and restaurants in San Marco. Following his example, the kids high-fived the officers as well.

Some clasped hands, some skipped, some waved, some carried Easter baskets and then posed for pictures in the square. It's a tradition shop owners anticipate each year.

Parents and their children make their headgear, said Becki de la Rionda, a teacher at the preschool for 20 years. The school provides the basic supplies. Some are decorated simply while others are more ornate. In the past, the girls' bonnets often sported long veils, said de la Rionda, who has three grandchildren at the school.

This year's parade featured a variety of adornments, including crepe paper and silk flowers, ribbon, netting, felt, tulle, bunny ears, pastel-colored plastic eggs, bunny-faced eggs, cotton balls and shamrocks. Some of the girls used paper plates as a base and some of the boys top hats. Family members paraded with the students.

Afterward, the students participated in an egg hunt and munched on frosted cookies.

Here's more good news:

- It's a boy! And Amanda and Adam Warren of Orange Park found out their baby's gender in a unique way - via a 400-foot observation wheel in Orlando. Adam Warren asked operators of the Orlando Eye, the new observation wheel on International Drive, if they would light the wheel in pink or blue to reveal whether he and his wife were having a boy or a girl.

To maintain the secret, he asked a family friend to obtain the results from the doctor's office and pass the information along to the lighting technicians. …

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