Bears Emerge From Hibernation In Downtown Hendersonville

Photo: Sam Dean

Henderson County, NC

Western North Carolina is known for black bears. They roam the Blue Ridge Mountains and are often a topic of conversation among visitors.

Downtown Hendersonville honors the furry natives each year by populating Main Street with 20 colorful versions for the Bearfootin’ Art Walk. Each sculpture is decorated by a local artist. The bears are revealed in May and remain on the sidewalks until October, when they are auctioned for charity.

The fiberglass bears offers blank canvases for the creativity of local artists. Past renditions have incorporated Blue Ridge Mountain scenes and landmarks, as well as elements of nature, such as flowers, forests, butterflies and birds. Other bears take on humanlike characteristics, wearing clothes, hats or costumes. Sometimes bears have morphed into other creatures, such as a dinosaur or dog.

The bears have become synonymous with the town, and visitors enjoy finding each one, picking out favorites and taking selfies. Brochures with a complete listing of bears, artists, nonprofit beneficiaries and bear locations are available at the Visitor Center.

The bears add additional flair to Hendersonville’s park-like downtown. The curvilinear Main Street is surrounded by wide sidewalks, brick planters with trees and flowers, park benches and outdoor dining. It is a popular destination for shopping and dining.

Joining the bears this year is a new bee mural covering two sides of the Hands On! Children’s Museum. The mural, designed to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, depicts honeybees, butterflies and native flowers. Plants in the pollinator garden at the base of the mural provide shelter, nectar and pollen.

The mural is part of an international campaign by artist Matthew Willey called The Good of the Hive, which involves painting 50,000 honeybees in murals around the world.

For more information about Henderson County and additional attractions – go to or call (800) 828-4244.