A paddler recently contacted us with a question:

What's the story behind the stuffed animals and dolls fastened to the Grassy Point railroad bridge over the St. Louis River?

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Always hoping to satisfy our readers' curiosity, Eh contacted Tom Sershon, a retired 44-year veteran of the BNSF and former Grassy Point bridge operator.

"Rick McDonald, one of the operators, started putting them up," Sershon said. "He used to get them at Goodwill and stick them up there. Then some boaters put some up. That's how that started."

Sershon doesn't know why McDonald, who died years ago, fastened the stuffed animals to the timbers of the swing bridge.

"I think he did it just for the entertainment for the boaters," Sershon said. "I saw some of them (boaters) put more up."

Sershon never asked boaters why they were adding to the collection.

"The company wanted to know who was putting them up," he said. "I said 'I haven't a clue.' I wasn't, going to tell anybody."

Alternative reunion

Central, East and Denfeld all get their class reunions -- but what if you marched to the beat of a different drummer and attended one of Duluth's alternative schools? If so, John D'Auria is looking for you.

Unity, Skyline and Hillside schools are planning a reunion barbecue from 4-9 p.m. July 28 at the beach pavilion on Park Point.

You can chat with some of your former teachers, listen to local band Class Beyond and play volleyball.

Donations will be accepted to help with expenses. Bring a potluck dish and enjoy meat from the grill.

Audience to set sail

You've heard of progressive dinners -- how about progressive theater?

Students from the Hillside Youth Theatre Program will perform the original musical "The Oddest Sea," a Lake Superior odyssey, using the Great Lakes Aquarium as a backdrop. Audience members will move to different exhibits at the aquarium as the show's six scenes unfold.

"The Oddest Sea" is set on Lake Superior and includes gods and goddesses, suitors and maids, Calypso and her dancers, Cyclops and the Sirens and more. The script is by Jean Sramek.

The shows are about an hour long and start at 1 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. Wednesday-July 27; It plays at 7 p.m., 7:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on July 27-28. The show is free, but donations will be

accepted.

Sh-Boom at Chester

Reason to dust off the saddle shoes No. 30: Sh-Boom plays the Chester Creek Concert series at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Chester Bowl.

The longtime oldies band specializes in music from the bobby socks and crew-cuts era with songs that lean toward Patsy Cline, the Everly Brothers, Elvis and Buddy Holly.

Expect to see on-stage antics and costumes from the crew that has adopted cute stage names like "Toot" "Bumpa" and "Dyno."

Shows are free. Bring a blanket or lawn chair.