Downtown Hendersonville Welcomes Colorful Characters To Main Street

Some of downtown Hendersonville’s most beloved residents return this spring. Twenty colorful bear statues take their places along Main Street for the annual Bearfootin’ Art Walk & Auction. 

The bears start as blank, white forms, and local artists decorate them with creative designs. The bears appear in May and stay in place until October when they are auctioned. Proceeds from each statue go to a different charity. Last year’s auction raised $47,200.

This year’s bears include such themes as a scarecrow, mountain landscapes, flower gardens, a cat lady and Mardi Gras. The design often ties to the charity it represents.

“The bears encourage people to get out and walk,” says Beth Carden, executive director of the Henderson County TDA. “It’s a nice place to get outside and enjoy art.”

Throughout the season, visitors and locals alike pose for pictures with their favorite bears. Some make it a mission to snap a photo with each bear before fall arrives.

The Bearfootin’ Art Walk complements the everyday beauty of downtown Hendersonville, which encourages pedestrian traffic with wide tree-lined sidewalks and a curvilinear shape. Many of the eateries offer sidewalk dining, and shops create enticing window displays. Murals, water fountains and other public art installations make downtown a picturesque place to spend an afternoon. Several downtown businesses have purchased bears at previous auctions and given them a permanent home on Main Street.

The Bearfootin’ Art Walk covers six blocks from Allen Avenue on the south end up to Sixth Avenue. Brochures with a complete listing of bears, artists, nonprofit beneficiaries and bear locations are available at the Visitor Center. Digital versions may be downloaded at, the website for the Downtown Hendersonville organization, which oversees the project.

To plan your visit to Hendersonville, go to or call (800) 828-4244.

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