Posted June 3rd, 2012
Easthampton’s Park and Recreation Department and the Department of Public Works have joined Easthampton City Arts+ and the Bear Fest committee in creating a successful summer-long event that benefits the businesses and people of Easthampton and raises funds for art education, art organizations, and artists.
In the fall of 2011, ECA+ Coordinator Burns Maxey met with Tree Warden George Melega to discuss the 40 tree stumps that will be used as platforms for the 2012 Bear Fest. “George is not only extremely knowledgeable about trees but he also has a great sense design. I was able to discuss with him about some of the more challenging bear pedestals and brainstorm ideas,” says Maxey.
As in 2009, the bear sculptures will sit on logs throughout the city. The naturalistic looking pedestals will give the bear sculptures prominence in their selected locations. Melega found many of the trees as a result of the 2011 October snowstorm while other stumps were collected from previously cut trees. He then cut the stumps to size.
Melega who has worked as Easthampton’s tree warden for over 25 years says about his commitment to Bear Fest, “We’re in the business of people fun. Having these art events in the past decade or so has created more involvement with this department. Our business is public service, this is what we do.”
As the Bear Fest Unveiling Celebration nears, the DPW department has scheduled delivery of the stumps. The Bear Fest locations committee and the DPW Director Joseph I. Pipczynski are planning where the 40 stumps will be placed and delivered. The stump sizes vary—some as large as 34” wide and 30” tall. Some stumps are marked for specific bear sculptures that have special accoutrements. Strategically following a map and collaborating with the Bear Fest Locations Committee, the logs will be placed appropriately.
Director Pipczynski says about his department’s involvement with the Bear Fest, “It’s a benefit to the town, we try to do our share.”
Coordinator Maxey says, “Not many people know that ECA+ is a city organization established through the planning department. Events such as Bear Fest have engaged the city as a whole, ranging from various departments that have been instrumental in making it happen to business, students, artists, and beyond. It’s been a great collaboration and transforms Easthampton into a tourist destination for the summer.”
The official Bear Fest Unveiling Celebration happens on June 9, from 2-8 p.m. The free events include live music, artist talks, poetry readings, food, and more.