Bears playing.| Pexels


A family of bears will soon appear along the Baw Beese walking trail as part of a month-long fundraiser for the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation.

Hillsdale Chair Affair, a silent auction, is looking to raise money for the Her­itage Association’s newest project to place the statue of the bear family along the trail. The auction will last from May 9 to June 9.

“There will be statues of a mama bear and her two cubs on the Baw Beese walking trail for kids to give bear hugs to and take pic­tures with,” said Connie Sexton, a member of the Hillsdale Her­itage Asso­ci­ation.

Heather Tritchka, a local artists and 1998 Hillsdale College alumna, is sculpting the bear statues. According the the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation Facebook page, $92,440 is needed to com­plete this project, and the asso­ci­ation is more than halfway to reaching its goal.

With about 40 busi­nesses ver­bally com­mitted to designing and donating chairs to auction, there will be many to choose from. These spe­cially designed and painted chairs will be placed either outside or inside local business. Their pic­tures will be placed on the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation Facebook page, which is where people can make their bids. On June 9, the bid sheets will be taken to busi­nesses for people to make final bids there.

“We are designing a chair for the auction. We are looking forward to making some­thing fun and cre­ative,” Danielle Brock, owner of Small Town Sweet Bou­tique said.  “We have not settled on a design yet, but it will def­i­nitely be some­thing bright and cheerful like our store.”

Darci Gaff has begun designing a chair for her store, Modern Revival, as well.

“This year I think I’m going to do a flying chair with big tin wings so when the wind blows the wings it will look like it’s flying,” Gaff said.

There will also be a large chair made on behalf of the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation.

“We con­tracted a craftsman to build a 9‑foot by 8‑foot adirondack chair to display for a month. It’ll be some­where downtown,” Sexton said. “I’m really excited about it and I hope it will go well.”

Not only will the Hillsdale Chair Affair benefit the Her­itage Association’s bear project, but it will help people advertise their busi­nesses and bring people out to visit the local shops, along with pro­moting Art Around Town.

As the silent auction ends on June 9, the second annual Art Around Town fundraiser will begin. Art Around Town is a day long event that encourages the com­munity to visit downtown and support local artists. Money made at this event also is donated towards the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation.

“Art Around Town was scheduled, but I wanted to do some­thing more,” Sexton said. So she sat down to brain­storm with friend, Darci Gaff, who gave her the idea for “Chair Affair.”

“I did this about 10 years ago in Steuben County, Indiana. We did it for our lit­erary coalition. It was pretty suc­cessful,” Gaff said. “I thought maybe it’s time to revive the Chair Affair.”