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Bidding opens Tuesday for Bearfootin' bears

Bidding for the 2021 Bearfootin’ Art Walk bears will begin virtually on Tuesday and continue until 6 p.m. Oct. 16, when bidders, bear artists and nonprofits will celebrate the end of the 2021 Bearfootin' season.

After a successful pivot from a traditional live auction to a virtual auction which raised more than $84,000 in 2020, Friends of Downtown Hendersonville will continue with a virtual bidding format this year. Bidders will be able to participate in the auction remotely and even submit bids via text message over the course of 30 days.

The public is invited to a countdown event on Oct. 16 at the Historic Train Depot Plaza on Maple Street from 4 until 6:30 p.m. Attendees and bidders will meet the bears while enjoying live music, beer, wine, and food trucks. The event hosts will guide participants through the evening, announcing incoming bids amid charming commentary. While there won’t be voice call bidding at the event, attendees will be able to bid live via cell phone and can ask for setup assistance at a designated registration table.

Friends of Downtown Hendersonville will release the auction website information on September 15 via social media, press release and e-newsletter. Visit for more information.

In the meantime, the 2021 bears are stationed along Main Street where they can be visited in person and adored by tourists and residents alike. The Bearfootin’ Art Walk can also be experienced virtually.

The Bearfootin’ Art Walk Auction is sponsored by Morris Broadband, now powered by Optimum.

Since 2003, the Bearfootin’ Art Walk has helped raise funding for Friends of Downtown Hendersonville (a 501c3 nonprofit) and a variety of local nonprofits. In addition to raising funds, the bears offer a window into good work being done by community organizations. The Bearfootin’ bears arrive as blank slates before local artists transform each into a spectacular fashion, with creative themes ranging from Mona Lisa to Blue Ridge Mountain scenery.

After the “Reveal” event in early May, the bears then take up residence in downtown Hendersonville for the duration of the summer and fall, up until the auction. Winning bids up to $3,000 are split evenly between the Friends of Downtown Hendersonville and the nonprofit chosen by the sponsor, while bid amounts exceeding $3,000 are directed entirely to the nonprofit. The 2020 auction raised more than $84,000. In 2019, the auction raised $57,400, up from $47,200 in 2018.