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Over 1,000 come out for 'Read and Ride with Daniel Tiger' Event 
Children meet Daniel Tiger   Families boarded the trolleys after meeting Daniel Tiger.
Over 1,000 people came from near and far to the “Read and Ride with Daniel Tiger” on July 20. People drove from as far as Memphis to attend to see the new star of the PBS education spinoff of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.”  

The event was created to showcase the Knoxville Area Transit free trolley system that runs downtown Monday through Saturday (see detailed schedule below). Daniel Tiger was a great tie-in since he explores his neighborhood daily using the trolley, which bears a striking resemblance to Knoxville’s red trolleys.

Originally, patrons were supposed to ride with Daniel Tiger on the trolleys while books were read, but event organizers had to make last-minute adjustments when the number of Facebook commitments continued to grow. Instead, the two activities were split to reduce wait times.

Lines of little ones and their parents began forming as early as 9 a.m. and, as it grew, snaked through rows and rows of book shelves on two levels of the Lawson McGhee Library before spilling out onto the sidewalks outside all the way to Gay Street.

The wait was long—up to three hours—but families persevered and were very polite. Many sat in the library floors reading children’s books off of the shelves as they waited in line. Library staff distributed Daniel Tiger coloring pages and crayons to help pass the time.

Originally, the event was supposed to last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but due to the enormous turnout, Knox County Library staff and Knoxville Area Transit drivers stayed until every child that waited had an experience of meeting Daniel Tiger and riding the trolleys—ending at 3 p.m.

Once kids entered the room with Daniel Tiger, though, a magical moment occurred—Daniel music was playing and kids began to dance and sing with a glint in their eye. 986 people waited in line to have their picture made with the toddler celebrity, Daniel Tiger. Rita’s Italian Ice provided the kids with a frozen treat to cool off and each kid was able to ring an old-fashioned trolley bell just before walking up to Daniel himself.

The Knox County Public Library has an ongoing trolley story time partnership with KAT, and the hope was that Daniel Tiger and riding the trolley would increase the participation. (Mission accomplished!) Obviously, it was quite a surprise that Daniel Tiger, from a two-season education show would increase the participation to the extent that he did on a work day!

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” a current nationwide preschool education television series, is produced by the Fred Rogers Company as a spinoff of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”  The show is based on Fred Rogers’ childhood development teaching and has been praised for its lessons on emotional intelligence and human respect. The show’s teaching influence was obvious at the “Read and Ride with Daniel Tiger” event as children and families patiently waited for their turn on the trolley for a picture with Daniel.

Trolleys are a free downtown City transportation service running on three routes:

Blue Line (Daniel Tiger event route): Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. -8 p.m., Fridays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Every 7 minutes on Monday-Friday, every 15 minutes on Saturdays)

Green Line: Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Fridays 7 a.m. -10 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. -10 p.m. Service to Summit Towers runs hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Every 10 minutes)

Orange Line: Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. -8 p.m., Fridays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Every 15 minutes)

For more information about KAT visit www.katbus.com; for more information about East Tennessee PBS visit www.EastTennesseePBS.com. For information on Knox County Libraries, visit www.knoxlib.org.

Blog written by Randa Meade, Communications Intern and University of Tennessee Public Health Nutrition graduate student

Posted by On 25 July, 2016 at 11:41 AM