A warm sunny spring day greeted patrons in Jacob Myers Park, gathered to view a modern retelling of the Johnny Appleseed story on Saturday, April 14.
An audience of youngsters, oldsters and others in between enjoyed the free live performance put on by the City of Riverbank and the Friends of Jacob Myers Park group in a meadow next to the Burney Pavilion in the heart of the park.
The performers were an itinerant theatre duo called the Traveling Lantern Workshop, which performs the family-oriented telling of the classic Johnny Appleseed tale across the country.
According to officials, it’s the story of John Chapman, an early American naturalist who travels the newly expanding nation, learning from Native Americans and spreading his growing knowledge to pioneers he encounters. He plants both apple seeds and a love of nature wherever he goes.
They say his lessons on environmental stewardship, conservation and sustainability are especially relevant to children today, as they learn to protect the beauty of nature around them.
The performance was postponed from the original April 7 scheduled date because of an expected threat of rain in the area that would affect the outdoor presentation.
A special BBQ lunch that preceded the performance was provided by members of Friends of Jacob Myers Park, a volunteer organization that helps plan and supplement activities and improvements at the park.
The live performance in JMP continued a long tradition begun back in 2003, when community groups began producing the annual Shakespeare in the Park plays each summer. Begun by Riverbank Community Theatre and continued by Rio Arts, the shows, which included casts and crews of adults and students, continued through 2009.