Bears spotted in Ardmore: Homes, businesses display teddy bears in windows

Drew Butler
A teddy bear peaks out of the bushes at a house on Olive Street. Teddy bears and a variety of other stuffed animals are popping up at homes and businesses across the city to spread joy and community connection during a time of social distancing.

Teddy bears and assorted other stuffed animals are popping up all across Ardmore. They can be found peeking out of windows, hiding in trees, or sitting on porches at homes and businesses all across the city. The bears started coming out of their hibernation on Tuesday after Teresa Dragg created a Facebook group called Bear Hunt in Ardmore, OK before going to bed Monday night.

Dragg said she created the group to give children and families a fun activity during a time of social distancing. Group members post clues about the bears’ locations to the page, then families can make a game out of getting out, finding them, and posting pictures to social media.

Dragg said she got the idea to create the group after finding out about a similar activity taking place in Tennessee.

“I moved here from a town in Northwest Tennessee almost four years ago and last night my Facebook timeline was loaded with pictures and postings from a bear hunt they started yesterday,” Dragg said. “I thought it was a fantastic idea, especially during a time of uncertainty and social distancing.”

Dragg said she began the group by going through her friends list and inviting everyone she knew who had children or grandchildren. This amounted to approximately 50 people, but the numbers quickly grew as more and more people found out about it. As of press time Tuesday evening, the group contained over 300 members and there were dozens of clues posted about where kids can find the bears.

Dragg pointed out people who do not have children or are unable to leave their homes can still be a part of the fun simply by putting out a stuffed animal for the children to spot.

“My parents don’t have any kids or grandkids at home but love to be involved,” Dragg said. “They put a lamb beneath a huge JESUS banner on their front porch, and she posted a picture of that today.”

Area children are already having fun spotting the animals. Kaycee Rider took her daughter on a brief walk Tuesday afternoon, and they found several bears along the way.

“We were walking down Lakeshore Drive and my daughter spotted one — then another,” Rider said. “We saw at least five bears on that one street. Her favorite was a rainbow bear she found. We’re going to walk the entire neighborhood tomorrow and see how many we can find.”

Dragg said she is extremely excited to see the community come together to spread some joy.

“I love my community, my friends and my family, and I enjoy organizing activities,” Dragg said. “I hate being cut off from everyone and am having a great time seeing all the posts and activity. I spent my entire lunch just loving all the posts, and I can’t wait to see what else gets posted!”