Hendersonville – The market is “bearish” in downtown Hendersonville starting Friday, November 27 with a month-long free Peppermint Bear Scavenger Hunt inside businesses.
The search is for stuffed standing cub dolls, which are twelve to fourteen inches tall. The three versions vary by height, hats, and what they hold. One has a white bib and peppermint stick. Another wears a red cap and clutches a mini Christmas tree. The third sports a red and white Santa cap and holds a pair of silver bells. Each cub strikes a confident pose.
Deploying three different bear dolls mirrors the three variations of famed Bearfootin’ large porcelain bear figures, which adorned Main Street for much of spring and all summer. Those bears were removed and auctioned off a month ago to raise money for local nonprofits.
The holiday contest debuted last year. About five hundred people completed the hunt and also submitted entry forms for prize drawings, said Amy Boswell, events coordinator for the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA), which organizes the scavenger hunt. She figures many more did the hunt for fun but skipped the drawing so instead families with “children could get the prizes.”
The holiday scavenger hunt starts 10 a.m. this Friday and continues through 6 p.m. Friday, December 23. It runs during store hours and involves 27 merchants, boosting their foot traffic by encouraging people to check inside for bear dolls. While doing so, they are apt to browse merchandise.
Here is how the “bear hunt” works: Pick up a contest brochure from any of the 27 merchants or at the Visitor Center at 201 S. Main St. The brochure shows the three cub variations and includes a list and map of the 27 participating businesses. There is also the story of Peppermint the mama bear and why her cubs are missing.
Visit these stores and look around until you detect a semi-hidden bear doll in at least 12 of them. Whenever you do, point it out to a worker of that store, and they will punch the box to the right of that store’s name in your brochure as proof. Stores use a specialized puncher that would be hard to replicate, Boswell noted. She said the store gives the scavenger hunter a trinket or other gift.
Once you find 12 or more bears and have your brochure punched, fill out the entry form, and take your brochure to the Visitor Center at 201 S. Main St. The center is on the west side of the street. It is run by HCTDA.
The entry form is on the back side of the page with the check-off boxes proving your family found enough bear dolls. That two-sided page can be easily torn out and brought inside the Visitor Center or deposited in “Peppermint’s mailbox” beside its front entrance steps. Drop off by December 23 to be eligible for the prize drawing.
The grand prize will likely be another bundle, like the gift basket last year, Boswell said. Most prizes in the drawing are geared for children or families. Boswell said they are bear dolls three inches tall or else participating merchants’ toy trinkets, games, puzzles, or gift certificates.
The contest storyline is that momma Peppermint needs our help in searching downtown Hendersonville for her lost cubs. She sent her male cubs out to hunt for a shapely Christmas tree, and the females to get silver bell ornaments. Their aim is to decorate the furry family’s den.
Contest sponsors are Hendersonville Visitor Center and these merchants in alphabetical order: Black Bear Coffee Co., Emma’s Baby Boutique, Four Seasons Christmas Garden Decor & More LLC, Narnia Studios, Vintage Photo Scan, Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique, and Wine Sage and Gourmet.
They are among the 27 participating merchants. Others in order on the map are Henderson County Heritage Museum, Curb Market (the only one on Church Street’s west side), Mia’s Market Place, Tribal Trends, Doll Clothes Factor, A Walk in the Woods, Just Ducky, Lady Bear Trading Post, Pisgah Forest Gem Mine and Gifts, Mast General Store, Skyland Barber Shop, Razberry Threads, Carolina Mountain Artists Guild, Dancing Bear Toys, Mineral and Lapidary Museum, Art MoB Studios and Marketplace, Merch on Main Boutique, Sherman’s Sports and Army Store, and The 2nd Act lounge at East Allen near South King Street.
The order of merchants on the map starts and ends at Allen, heading northward to Sixth Avenue, then back heading southward.
More Holiday Events Ongoing
The front section of the tourism brochure has information on five other area holiday activities. A pair of decoration contests are November 27 to December 18. Both are for participants from across Henderson County. The one for merchants is for “best holiday window displays and lighting,” Boswell said. People can vote online for the merchant honor and also best holiday decorations of a home in Henderson County.
Also in Henderson County is the Carolina Ace Hardware Christmas Display, through December 31 at the store at 911 Greenville Highway in Hendersonville. It is daily to 7 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Saturday, December 5 is “Whoo Loves Hendo” as downtown merchants dress as Dr. Seuss’ Whoville characters including the Grinch, his dog Max, Cindy Lou Who, and Mayor Ned McDodd. Main Street will be closed to through traffic that weekend.
Download a Peppermint Bear Brochure via: https://bit.ly/2HoBIPU
For more information on events in Downtown Hendersonville and Henderson County, stop by the Visitor Center, call 693-9708, or visit http://visithendersonvillenc.org.