Look around Oakhurst, now look a little closer. They are everywhere. Carved Bears welcoming you into businesses, waving hello, and having lunch. They sometimes carry items that give you a hint to the kind of products a merchant carries. There are even Carved Bears that help Geocachers find hidden treasures.
The Southern Sierra has one of the highest number of artists per capita of anywhere in the United States, and that includes uniquely talented artists that carve wooden bears!
We aren't quite sure who started the tradition or why, but since black bears are common to the area, a wood carver decided to start carving bears. The local merchants loved the bears so they began purchasing them, even going so far as to have them carved to represent their businesses. A Bear holding a camera for the local camera shop. Bears holding Big Mac's and French Fries for McDonald's, even a bear holding a telephone for the local phone company.
Today there are over 100 carved bears in and outside of local businesses. There are bears holding geocaching treasures so that families can hunt for these charming creatures. Children can get a Carved Bear Passport and go hunting, find the bears, and turn the passport in for prizes.
In the spring when real bears come out of hibernation, Oakhurst Carved Bears do as well. You can find them busily helping artists at the Wood Carvers Rendezvous and they are everywhere you turn at the Carved Bear Festival. There are carved bears welcoming you to the town, your hotel, restaurants, and more. They are the friendliest bears in world, and they are located in Oakhurst, the Carved Bear Capital of the World!