The WEHA Bear Fair has relocated to Westfarms, where the bears will remain on display through January.
By Ronni Newton
The dozen bears that were resident in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square for the past several months as part of the WEHA Bear Fair have departed for the season, but rather than hibernating out of the public eye they are remaining very much out in the open, continuing to help raise funds for local charities and delighting visitors at Westfarms.
The 90-pound life-size fiberglass bears lumbered off at the beginning of November for a brief spa treatment inside one of the parking garages at Westfarms, and after having their paint touched up were sent to their new stations inside the mall. They can be found on both floors, near all of the main entrances, on the ground floor near Macy’s and JCPenney, and on the upper level in the Nordstrom wing.
The bears are part of a “FUNdraiser” organized by 20/20 Media, serving as public art while also raising money for a variety of nonprofits. The second phase of the event has made possible through the assistance of Udolf Properties and Westfarms.
“As we continue to support local communities through our Community First program, Westfarms will be making donations to each of the organizations participating in the Bear Fair,” said Ray Lamoureux, director of sponsorship and marketing for Westfarms.
As part of this unique fundraiser, each bear has a sponsor, an artist (or group of artists), and a nonprofit beneficiary. The creatively-painted bears are bolted into platforms that display a unique QR code with a link to information about the artwork and the nonprofit. Those who come to view the bear are able to make a donation directly from their smartphone, and 100% will go directly to that charity.
“Now, as winter descends – and much to the delight of the entire community, young and old – we’re keeping this fabulous FUNdraiser going by moving the bearsindoors to Westfarms … just in time for the holidays!” organizer Tom Hickey said.
The bears will remain on display through January 2022, and visitors can find out more about each one, and support the bears’ beneficiary nonprofits by scanning the QR code at Westfarms, on the signage attached to each bear on display, or by visiting 20media20.com.
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