In the lexicon of a child, few phrases are capable of eliciting as much dread as “back to school.”

But area children made an exception to that rule, Sept. 18 as they gathered by the droves to attend the James Kennedy Library’s Back to School Celebration at Dyersville Commercial Club Park.

Under the pavilion, representatives from the Mississippi River Museum and Swiss Valley Nature Center brought numerous animal pelts, and even a turtle shell, which served as a magnet to curious hands.

Just feet away, a live snake was also on hand for those brave enough to touch it.

Attendees were treated to a free book of their choosing, which they could read to therapy dog Darby.

Children also spent some time sitting on the picnic tables learning to construct various weaving crafts while enjoying the free hot dogs and ice cream treats.

While the activities under the pavilion played to a quieter sense of curiosity, just feet away the commotion and controlled chaos were palpable.

The inflatable bounce house was filled with screams and squeals of excitement and, of course, the standard amount of rough-housing.

Later in the day, children were also given the opportunity to visit with local high school sports teams and tour first responder vehicles.