"I probably get a dozen people a week or more who ask me when the bear is coming back," Animalhouse manager Brian Hanson said. "They want to see him dressed for the holidays. They want to see him wave to the cars."
bear statue stood for nearly 22 years. (Doug Pike / Colorado Hometown Weekly)
have them submit drawings with their ideas, then have them dress him up," Hanson said. "The community really responds to the bear."
Louisville's waving bear statue is back
Brian Hanson, manager at Animalhouse Veterinary Clinic in Louisville, on Thursday, Oct. 24, ties balloons to the waving hand of the clinic's new bear sculpture, which faces the intersection of South Boulder Road and Main Street. (Doug Pike / Colorado Hometown Weekly)
"The original lasted a long time. Little did my husband or myself know what a landmark it would become," Keith said. "Everywhere I go, I've had people ask me when it's coming back. I'm thrilled to see it back up. I think Dan would be very pleased."
Animalhouse owner Holly Keith, Brian's mother and Daniel's widow, said given the community's attachment, not replacing the bear was never an option.
Animalhouse Veterinary Clinic manager Brian Hanson, left, and welder Guido Denzler unwrap the new waving bear sculpture outside the vet clinic at South Boulder Road and Main Street in Louisville. The previous Prada Quilted Wallet
When rot first claimed one of the bear's limbs then forced Animalhouse management to take down the original wooden statue in January of 2012, its absence was sorely noted.
In the future, Hanson said he hopes to enlist elementary students to work on the bear's seasonal attire.
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The original bear statue, commissioned by late clinic owner Daniel Keith and carved by chainsaw from a cottonwood tree growing at the site, made its debut 22 years ago. Over the years the bear grew into a Louisville landmark.
"I was standing in line for the teller and I heard two women talking," Hanson said. "One woman said, 'Well, I saw the bear in the lobby, but I guess he's never going back outside.' They didn't know I was there, or who I was, but I said, 'I'll make sure I get him back up by Halloween.'"
The new bear, carved from a single piece of cottonwood, has lived in the vet clinic lobby since March, recovering from a 3 foot long split that formed on its belly while it cured in Hanson's garage.
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10 seconds before the first motorist passed this morning, maniacally waving his hand out the driver's side window.
Animalhouse management deliberated for months whether to repair the replacement bear or have another commissioned.
Hanson said he finally decided it was time to reinstall the bear as is after Prada Bag Clutch overhearing a conversation at his bank.
"We don't have any costumes planned, yet, but any kids with ideas or who want to help out with dressing him are more than welcome," Hanson said.
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The bear, dubbed "Louisville's Official Animalhouse Bear," even has its own Facebook page.
Those smiles should increase throughout the week. Halloween is always a popular season for the bear, which gets dressed in any number of costumes during the days prior.
Animalhouse Veterinary Clinic staff had just stepped back after installing the new incarnation of its popular waving bear statue, facing the intersection of South Boulder Road and Main Street in Louisville, when the first fan greeted the return of the bear to its familiar pedestal, with a wave and a shout of "Hey bear!"
The installation took place this morning and repairs begin Friday. Hanson said he'll fill the remaining cracks "and let him start bringing smiles back to kids' faces."
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