Editorial: Painted bears more than just tourist artifice | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Editorial: Painted bears more than just tourist artifice

Take a walk around the downtown redevelopment area, and you may come face to face with a bear. You may come face to face with a dozen bears, all of them uniquely painted with references as local as Lake Tahoe, or as far away as Cuba.

The bears are part of the CeleBEARtion effort put on by the Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority and sponsored by area businesses. They showcase the talent of regional artists and celebrate South Tahoe in a unique way. Those of us who live here, and do business here, are proud of the community. The pride shows when community members come together as they have for CeleBEARtion.

By the time artists turn concepts into reality, and the bears are placed, there will be a bear at every turn. As many as 50, when all is said and done.

Patrick Kaler, executive director of the LTVA, a local agency that promotes Lake Tahoe tourism, brought the concept to a local leadership class, and it has blossomed from there. Although the idea has been duplicated in many communities nationwide – including Reno’s infamous bighorn sheep – Kaler wanted to emulate the success of Chicago, which raised money auctioning off cows. An auction of the bears will take place mid-October.

The efforts of local leaders, the LTVA, area businesses and artists should make 2006 the year of the bear.

Oh, and our visitors should like it too.

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