Bearfootin’ Bears are Out in Full Force - TribPapers

Bearfootin’ Bears are Out in Full Force

Beth Winstead-Vachon created intricate and colorful designs on Botanical Bear. It benefits the Blue Ridge Human Society.

HendersonvilleThe bears invading Downtown Hendersonville this summer need to be fed with mere adulation.

They are the 20 Bearfootin’ bear figurines spread on the sidewalk along Main Street from First to Sixth avenues. All but two are at street corners as usual. This is the 19th edition of a free public outdoor “art walk” along Main Street.

The weatherproofed fiberglass figurines went up in May. They stay up until October when they are auctioned off to largely benefit local non-profit organizations. Last year the auction was a virtual one due to the pandemic. Yet it still raised over $84,000 for local charities. Plans are to have preliminary bidding online ahead of the in-person auction finale.

Local artists decorate the bears in various colors and designs to fit a theme and the bear’s name. Some themes fit in with the non-profit group that the bear benefits. Its auction sale proceeds up to $3,000 are split between the beneficiary and the City of Hendersonville’s program that puts on the bears. Any money beyond $3,000 goes totally to the beneficiary.

Dee Ballenger painted several statewide landmarks onto Mountain to Sea and labeled them. They include Blowing Rock, Nighttime at Biltmore (Estate), and the state zoo in Ashboro. That bear benefits Hendersonville Family YMCA which is also its sponsor.

The bears are in the usual three variations of standing upright, on all fours in the midst of a walking motion, or else a mother bear cradling her cub. The Visitor Center has brochures that show the bears which are numbered and has a map of their locations. It also lists for each bear its name, artist, the sponsor that buys the basic figurine, and the beneficiary group.

Standing bears in numerical order are: Big Glassy (Artist: Courtney Hoelscher; Beneficiary: The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara, Inc.), Bearer of Light (Artist: Jennifer Camp; Beneficiary: Civitan Club of Hendersonville), Bartram R. Bear (Artist: Rob Ashley; Beneficiary: Historic Flat Rock, Inc.), and Forget Me Not (Artist: Natalie Bennett; Beneficiary: MemoryCare).

Walking bears are: Raining Cats and Dogs (Artist: Carol Clay; Beneficiary: Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue), Bluebeary Jam (Artists: Trish Whitton, Terry Allen; Beneficiary: The Storehouse), Mountain to Sea (Artist: Dee Ballenger; Beneficiary: Hendersonville Family YMCA), Botanical Bear (Beth Winstead-Vachon; Beneficiary: Blue Ridge Humane Society), Shoot For The Stars (Artist: Patricia Sweet; Beneficiary: Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC in Henderson County), Meadow (Artist: Teresa Duncan; Beneficiary: Interfaith Assistance Ministry), Yona (Artists: Miriam Hughes, Laura Bell; Beneficiary: United Way of Henderson County), b2 aka Black Bear (Artist: Betty Stebbins; Beneficiary: Thrive), and Homer (Artist: Shayna Landreth; Beneficiary: The Housing Assistance Corp.).

Mama bears with cubs are: Seasons (Artist: Teresa Duncan; Beneficiary: Friends of Downtown Hendersonville), The Hope & Healing Bears (Artist: Lauren Younis; Beneficiary: Safelight), Subi and Hunter (Artist: Diane Dean; Beneficiary: Smart Start Partnership for Children), Buttercup Kisses (Artist: Linda Allen; Beneficiary: Homes for Youth), Harmonius Bears (Artist: Hannah Ray; Beneficiary: Arts Council of Henderson County), Centennial and Kiwi (Artist: Abigail Buckman; Beneficiary: Kiwanis Club of Hendersonville Foundation), and Home Sweet Home: Mama Bear and Patch (Artist: Heidi Mayfield; Beneficiary: Henderson County Habitat for Humanity).

For more including the auction date once that is set, check online at:

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