History of Bear Town Bears

The following information is copied from the public information leaflet published in New Bern.

New Bern was settled in 1710 by Swiss and Palatine German immigrants led by Baron Christoph DeGraffenried. The new colonists named the settlement Bern, the capital of Switzerland and hometown of their leader.  

Many years before New Bern was settled, Bern, Switzerland was founded by a group of hunters who named the city after the first animal they came upon on their hunting expedition ... A bear.  "Bern" is the old Germanic word for bear and the bear came to be the symbol of the city.

The bear symbol was passed along to Bern's sister city, New Bern, and still serves as the city's mascot with bear flags and statues featured throughout the town.

New Bern celebrated its 300th Anniversary in 2010 by hosting a variety of festivities.  In honour of the anniversary, over 50 fibreglass, ceramic bears, sponsored and adopted by local businesses, we situated throughout the city.

Once local businesses chose to sponsor and adopt a bear, a year-long process began which included selecting a locsl artist to design the bear's theme and designating a display location for the bear.

Originally 50 bears were erected and since an additional eight bears have been created and positioned at various locations throughout the city, with a new Bear unveiled in late 2016.

Visit New Bern website

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