“Some of our beloved bears have wandered off. These statues, which New Bern is known for, are extremely heavy & bolted down at sponsoring businesses. This one ended up in the middle of S. Front St!”
The bear is the mascot of New Bern, North Carolina, a city of around 30,000 currently under siege by Hurricane Florence. Bear statues, works of art really, are peppered all over downtown. And though heavy and secured by bolts, some of the bears have been set adrift because of flooding from Florence.
Settled by Swiss & German immigrants in 1710, they named the town for Bern, Switzerland, founded by hunters who called it Bern, Old German for bear, according to the city of New Bern.
When New Bern, North Carolina celebrated it’s 300 anniversary in 2010, part of its festivities included “bears making tracks,” actually decorated, fiberglass bears that became Bear Town Bears, a nonprofit organization, which recruited local artists to implement hand-painted designs on life-size standing and walking fiberglass bears for public enjoyment during the entire year.
Sponsors for the bears have placed their bears in historic downtown, as well as in outlying areas. Adored with hats, flags, flowers and other unusual and creative features, each bear offers a unique design.
There’s now a total of 61 bears throughout the city.
There are maps for doing Bear Tracks Hunt and kids can play “Where on the Bear” to find hidden features on each bear using clues listed on the map.