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Friday, May 05, 2017

THE BEARS OF NEW BERN, NORTH CAROLINA

At the Visitor Center (located in the Convention Center),
you can pick up a map of the Bear Town Bears
A visitor barely arrives in New Bern, North Carolina before he is confronted by a bear.  Yes.  They’re all over the city.  But don’t be frightened. These bears are the works of artists welcoming you to Bear Town

Today there are several more than the 50 original bears created for New Bern’s 300th anniversary in 2010, and it’s a lot of fun to go hunting for bear and experiencing the clever renditions and the symbolic nature of many of these sculptures.  Make sure you pick up a Bear Town Bears map at the Visitor Center so you will get to know your way around as well as be introduced to the artists and the names of these wonderfully creative animals.

This bear, located in Bear Plaza, of course, is named the Bearer of Rights.  Notice he is wrapped in our flag and holds the scales of justice in one hand.  Look closely at the cloak over his left shoulder.  On it is written "Non establishment of religion, Right to bear [haha] arms, No quartering of troops, and No unreasonable search and seizure."  Each bear bears a message to the visitor, and it is nice to think about that.


























Wonder how the bear became New Bern’s symbol and displayed not only in the sculptures but also featured on the bear flags and in the bear gifts found all around town?  Here are the bare bear facts.


In 1710, Baron Christoph DeGraffenried, given a tract of land by the English, led a group of Swiss and Palantine German refugees living in England to this spot. He named his new settlement after Bern, the capital of Switzerland.  Hence, New Bern

Bern is an old German word meaning “bear.”  But are there bears in Bern, Switzerland?  The founders of that city were hunters, and they named it after the first animal they came upon while hunting—bear. The symbol as well as the name not only stuck but also sailed across the ocean with the colonists. Perhaps the European name gave them some hope for civilization in their new and very different world.


At any rate, the New Bern Bears are a vivid reminder that this town, the second oldest in North Carolina, is a living museum of American history.  Bear in mind that New Bern bares Colonial, Revolutionary, Civil War, and other pertinent histories to its visitors.  As you get to know the Bear Town Bears, you will see some of that history laid bare.

This noble creature is BEARON DE GRAFFENRIED,
adventurer and entrepreneur who 
founded the New Bern colonial
settlement in 1710. 

Here is a teaser with some of the other bears we met in New Bern.  To see them all, you will just have to pay a visit to this wonderful city.  It's a place to add to you "must visit" list.




























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