They can be seen throughout town on the streets and amongst the bushes—the ‘bear fever’ bears.
For anyone looking for more information about these Boyertown bears, there is now a book availble—A Bear-y, Bear-y Boyertown.
“It started out as a joke,” said Mary-Lew Renninger, a resident of Bally, continuing to explain how a light-hearted comment quickly became a full-hearted project.
Renninger moved to the area five years ago and started to notice the bears in various spots. She said herself and her husband, Jay, began “finding more and more.”
She visited the office of Building a Better Boyertown to find out more about the bears, particularly how many of them can be found. Main Street Manager Adrianne Blank directed Renninger to Jane Stahl of Studio B for further information about the bears.
Stahl, a former teacher of Boyertown Area High School and her husband Paul Stahl, began the Bear Fever program in 2004.
Renninger says she asked whether or not there a book about the bears, and was surprised to learn that there was not. There is, however, a website dedicated the bear fever program—bearfever.org.
Stahl provided Renninger with a poster featuring the majority of the bears. This was the first breadcrumb towards finding all of the bears.
“I thought we needed a book [about the bears],” said Renninger. Thhat quickly lead to action.
Renninger and her husband proceeded to track down all the bears to take digital photos of them. They also made a new map of the bears.
The book was created in hopes that residents and visitors of Boyertown will get the book and the map to look for the bears. “…half of the fun is finding them [the bears],” said Renninger.
While Renninger does not consider herself to be an artist, she noticed how “wonderful the pictures and sculptures were.”
The hope of the book is that it will further connect people to Boyertown and its bears.
“We need to recognize the local artists; the bears have interesting stories,” said Renninger. “It won’t be just a ‘look and see,’ hopefully they’ll pick up the book and have fun.”
The whole process took a little more than two months, night and day, and there were a few of bears that required several trips in order for the couple to locate them. Also, there is one bear located on a private property which the Renningers were provided photos of.
Through her research, Renninger found that all of the schools within the Boyertown Area School District have a bear except one. She noted how helpful the school district was and hopes that this book will encourage the one school to get their own bear.
The book includes the name of each bear, as well as the artist and their location. The book will also serve as a connection to the website which has further information and stories about each of the bears.
Everything Prints in Bechtelsville has been working with the Renningers to print the book and get it out to the public.
“There will be 100 books printed right off the top,” said Renninger, adding that she wanted to have the book out before the holidays.
The book is slated to reach stores the first week of December. Crown Card and Candy Shoppe in Gilbertsville will be the main carrier.
“We have had a wonderful time for the past two months finding the bears,” said Renninger.