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Photos: Bears Arrive in West Hartford Center

Ron Foley Foundation representatives (from left) Jennifer Loughran, Monica Lamoureux, and Barbara Foley unveil the bear that benefits their nonprofit. It was painted by Anne Gogh and sponsored by Westfield Bank. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The WEHA Bear Fair was officially launched Tuesday afternoon in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square.

Several children check out the Fleet Feet bear which features caricatures of those who donated. WEHA Bear Fair, West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

A dozen bears are officially residing in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square for the next several months, and these are the kind of bears that the public will want to see up close.

Fresh out of hibernation at “Daley’s Den,” aka Daley Moving & Storage, where their spa treatment included receiving coating of protective sealant, the 12 life-size bears, each custom-painted, will be on display through Oct. 29. They will then head to Westfarms for the winter season, before departing for their permanent dens, chosen by the sponsors.

Dennis House of WTNH Channel 8 served as emcee of Tuesday’s reveal, supervising the unveiling of each of the bears. Sponsors, as well as many of the artists and nonprofits, were also in attendance along with several hundred people. His segment on the Bear Fair can be viewed here.

There are eight bears are stationed around the Noah Webster statue on South Main Street and four are in the courtyard of Blue Back Square.

As part of this unique fundraiser, each bear has a sponsor, an artist (or group of artists), and a nonprofit beneficiary. The 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.

The 90-pound animals are crafted of fiberglass and each is 48 inches tall, 63 inches long, and 30 inches wide.

A few children check out the Bluebeary Bear, painted by Art of Tao and sponsored by Daley Moving & Storage to benefit The Bridge Family Center. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘For All Ages’ was sponsored by Duncaster and painted by representatives of Duncaster and Northwest Catholic High School. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A representative of Dog Star was on hand to unveil the bear painted by staff and volunteers. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Artist Steve Hunter unveils his bear. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Steve Hunter designed a beach-themed bear which will benefit Westmoor Park, and is sponsored by Cantor Colburn. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Juniper Homecare sponsored a bear to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, and representatives of both organizations posed with Dennis House of WTNH after unveiling the bear, which was painted by Taylor Talmadge. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Robert Udolf (left) and Danielle Udolf (right) with a representative of the Ronald McDonald House. Udolf Properties sponsored a bear which was painted by residents of the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, and will benefit the organization. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

AJ Shoham of Jerry’s Artarama helps unveil the Elmwood Business Association’s bear. It was painted by muralist Corey Pane, whose mother (at left) also assisted in the. unveiling. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Artist Bill Dougal unveils the Fleet Feet bear as Dennis House looks on in the background. The bear benefits nonprofit Footwear with Care. WEHA Bear Fair, West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

WEHA Bear Fair, West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Dennis House of WTNH broadcast the unveiling of the APK Charities Bear live on Channel 8. APK Charities Bear was created by artist Bryan Wziontko and sponsored by West Hartford funeral homes Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home, Molloy Funeral Home, Hebrew Funeral Association, and WTNH. WEHA Bear Fair, West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Helen Pedersen-Keiser (left) and Bob Keiser (right), along with artist Bryan Wziontko, unveil the bear that will raise funds for APK Charities, the organization they started in memory of their son, Special Forces Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hartford HealthCare’s bear promoted COVID-19 vaccination. It was painted by Joanna Cistulli and benefits Food FARMacy. WEHA Bear Fair, West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

‘Grow Where You’re Planted’ was designed by artist Che’ La’Mora Hardy (second from left). It was sponsored by Modern Tire and benefits the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools. Also pictured are (from left) Lauren Fine and Deena Samburg-Shefsky, co-presidents of the Foundation, Dennis House of WTNH, and Modern Tire owner Brian Hajdasz. West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square. Aug. 31, 2021. Courtesy photo

The Bear Fair sponsors, along with their designated non-profits and the artists designing their bears, include:

Sponsor: Elmwood Business Association
Nonprofit: Faxon Library
Artist: Corey Pane

Sponsor: Cantor Colburn LLC
Nonprofit: Westmoor Park
Artist: Steve Hunter

Sponsor: Westfield Bank
Nonprofit: The Ron Foley Foundation
Artist: Anne Gogh

Sponsor: West Hartford funeral homes Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home, Molloy Funeral Home, Hebrew Funeral Association, and WTNH
Nonprofit: APK Charities
Artist: Bryan Wziontko

Sponsor: Udolf Properties
Nonprofit: Ronald McDonald House
Artist: The children at Ronald McDonald House in Springfield with Art Director Ray Talbot

Sponsor: Modern Tire of West Hartford
Nonprofit: Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools
Artist: Che’ La’Mora Hardy

Sponsor: Juniper Homecare
Nonprofit: Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association
Artist: Taylor Talmage

Sponsor: Fleet Feet of West Hartford
Nonprofit: Footwear with Care
Artist: Bill Dougal

Sponsor: Dog Star Rescue
Nonprofit: Dog Star Rescue
Artist: Dog Star Rescue staff and volunteers

Sponsor: Hartford Health Care
Nonprofit: Food FARMacy
Artist: Joanna Cistulli

Sponsor: Duncaster
Nonprofit: For All ages
Artist: For All Ages members (Northwest Catholic students and Duncaster residents; coordinator Deb Bibbins)

Sponsor: Daley Moving and Storage
Nonprofit: The Bridge Family Center
Artist: Art of Tao

Details about the artists themselves, the nonprofit beneficiaries, and the sponsors – along with the opportunity to donate – can be found on the event section of the 20/20 Media website.

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We-Ha

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