Stuffed bears and other stuffed animals are on display in windows, yards and on porches throughout the Garden City and Holcomb area.
The exhibition of stuffed animals came about thanks to the creation of the Garden City & Holcomb Bear Hunt Facebook page by Garden City resident Nicole DeNoon.
DeNoon said the idea came about after speaking with her mother, who mentioned something similar going on in Manhattan, where DeNoon is originally from.
It was like the book her mother used to read to her as a child, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen, DeNoon said.
She thought it would be a good idea to bring it to Garden City.
“During this time with COVID-19 and people staying in their homes and changes in how we’re living and trying to find things to do to occupy our time, I thought this was a really neat idea to get families involved ... get the community involved and to have something to do,” she said.
The idea was to give the community something fun to do when they get out of the house on a walk or on a drive, DeNoon said. People put the stuffed animals on display and others seek them out.
The idea took off.
DeNoon said she started the Facebook page on a Thursday. By Friday, there were 750 members, and by Saturday morning there were 1,500.
Four days later, on Monday the following week, there were over 2,000 members.
Group member Monica Miller-Turrentine created a Google map and has been marking off all the locations where bears are in the community, DeNoon said. There’s over 300 locations on the map.
“People pile the whole family in the car and go see how many (stuffed animals) they can find, or go on walks ... it’s a very useful tool,” she said. “I can’t believe she did it and she’s been a trooper keeping it updated.”
DeNoon said what she likes about the Bear Hunt is how it’s gotten the children involved.
“Right now they don’t really understand what’s going on and how much the adults are trying to keep a positive outlook,” she said. “A lot of people have been displaced with lost jobs and don’t know what the future holds and the kids don’t have to go to school. There’s a lot going on ... (with this) they can jump in a car and see how many bears they can find ... it gives them hope.”
The Facebook page has expanded beyond just posts about bear sightings and locations to visit, DeNoon said. The community has taken the page over and has begun posting about different arts and crafts things to do while at home.
Some of the other crafts on the page include window painting, door painting and sidewalk chalk art, DeNoon said. People have also incorporated Easter bunnies and eggs.
“This has inspired others,” she said. “There’s so many people reaching out, saying it’s fun and for people to ’come see my door, we painted it with Easter eggs.’ Its rallied the whole community together.”