Bears off to hibernation |

Bears off to hibernation

Jeff Munson
Nadine Long's bear was voted most favorite and sold for $7,000 to Camp Richardson Resort.

Like every fall, Lake Tahoe’s famed bears go into hibernation.

And so it goes that last week’s Bears By the Lake CeleBEARtion campaign was put to rest with an honorary charity auction.

The enormously clever experiment that tied the business the artistic community together in the name of charity and good will, fetched a grand total of $155,000 for youth service organizations. The Fiberglass bear project was conceived by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

Among the surprises at the bear auction was the $23,000 bid by an anonymous donor on the disco ball bear, created by artists Darcie Park Bissonnette and Mark Bissonnette.

Another surprise was the $7,000 bid by Bob and Tammy Hassett, the marina operators at Camp Richardson for the illustrious Blue BEARy Coast. The statuette bear was also voted the favorite bear in an online contest sponsored by the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Artist Nadine Long said she was “flabbergasted” by the honor, being that that there were so many creatively designed bears.

The mental imprint that became the red, white and blue lake captain bear was quite profound, Long said. For years she had watched a certain bear grow up in her Gardner Mountain neighborhood. Each year the bear would grow a little bigger and developed certain personality traits.

“He’d wonder into our driveway and I’d watch him,” she said. “He had this thing about him. So when I was asked to take part in the LTVA project, I thought about the bear we always see. And then one night it just clicked.”

Using non-fading acrylic paint, she took her conceptual image of that Gardner Mountain bear – who was also known to roam Camp Richardson – and turned it into Blue BEARy Coast.

“It was a really fun, exciting project for everyone involved,” Long said. “My heart was in this.”

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