It’s a milestone birthday for anyone, but it’s even more special when you’re a mascot.
On July 7, Hampton Bear, the mascot for High Hampton Inn
in Cashiers, N.C., is celebrating his 25th birthday with homeowners and hotel guests with a Teddy Bear Picnic
, filled with teddy-bear related activities.
The idea began with a simple celebration over 20 years ago. Becky McKee’s (the current owner’s wife) father-in-law was invited by a High Hampton resident and her son, both who loved teddy bears, to celebrate the birthday of a teddy bear.
And thus a new tradition for High Hampton Inn was born.
“It was one of those things we thought we would try,” said McKee. “It seemed like people got more excited about the celebration each year.”
“It’s a fun event, and it’s great to see it grow.”
According to McKee, the day kicks off with a teddy bear-themed breakfast. But what’s a celebration without a teddy bear? All ages are encouraged to bring their teddy bear to enter into various judging categories such as the Best Dressed Bear, the Most Appealing Wee Bear, the Most Huggable Bear and more.
“It’s really something to see how fun and clever some people can be with a theme. We’ve had some creative entries in the past that’ve included Bear-lyn Monroe.”
Other activities include a treasure bear hunt (similar to an egg hunt) and a history lesson of teddy bears, both conducted by Hampton Bear himself. The evening concludes with a picnic-style dinner for everyone on the pavilion with games and live entertainment.
“It’s become a tradition for many families. Folks who came as children in the beginning are now bringing their children.” comments McKee. “It’s nice to have a multi-generational event. The Teddy Bear Picnic is super-fun, wholesome, old-fashion day, with no batteries required.”
photos courtesy of High Hampton Inn