First Picnic in the Park of the season draws large crowd

Aaron Fowler and his dogs Bella and Choco were the first special guests at the Mary Cotton Public Library’s Picnic in the Park on Wednesday, June 1. There was a great turn out for the event with at least 150 in attendance. 

Fowler is a native Kansan who grew up in Topeka and now lives in Wichita. He is a musician and teaching artist. He has been presenting concerts at libraries and classroom workshops across the country for more than 30 years. According to his website,, he is a Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist with Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts, a Nationally Credentialed Teaching Artist with Young Audiences, and a teaching artist with Kansas Wolf Trap and Baby ArtsPlay.

“He is very kind, warm and welcoming and kids really like him,” said Mary Cotton Library Director Kim Priest.

By his side at all his concerts are his two therapy dogs, Ms. Bella, a Yellow Lab, and Mr. Choco, a Chocolate Lab. Both dogs have their Therapy Dog International certifications, as well as their certifications as Professional Therapy Dogs in the state of Kansas.

“The kids just loved up on those dogs,” Priest said.

Fowler is the author of two books in a series featuring his therapy dogs. The books are titled, The adventures of Bella and Choco: Being YOU-Neek and “The Boat” is Coming!

He will be on tour this summer for two months in the Midwest, visiting Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska. Visit his website at for a full schedule of events.

The next Picnic in the Park event will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 8, with guest Kady Toole and her dog Izzy. Toole is a teen author and illustrator of a children’s book series, Izzy the Corgi Adventures. Toole is a senior in high school and has written two books so far.


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