FAIRFIELD — Part of the legacy of 20 years of teaching and childcare was on parade Saturday morning when a local teacher and neighbor was honored.

Deanna Herlihy, who operated Curiosity Corner adjacent to Veres Park, died on June 4 after a second battle with cancer. Known as Ms. Dee, she left behind a couple generations of young people, however, whose lives she touched.

“She’s had so many loving, wonderful families walk through,” said her sister, Debra Cingari of Weston, who organized the event. “It was a way to channel my grief.”

The event began with a bike procession from James Street to Veres Park, where Herlihy’s students, family and community members rode in her honor. Student’s bikes were decked out with balloons, name cards with their class year and custom bike bells with her picture and Saturday’s date.

“She was the sweetest woman,” said Paige Bierman, 15, of Fairfield, one of her students. “It was so great to know her and have her teach us.”

“She had such an impact on everyone,” Bierman added.

Following the bike procession, each family took their marks on their very own “social distancing hearts,” while state Rep. Brian Farnen welcomed everyone and cut the ceremonial ribbon, revealing the memorial bench.

“The way the kids responded to her was magical,” said her husband, Scott Herlihy.

“That’s the only way to put it,” he said. “She was a great woman.”