A Source of Smiles

Busy Bear retires from limelight after sharing adventures on M-P social media

By Kalen McCain
Posted 6/17/20

Following nearly three months of continued publicity, Mid-Prairie’s newest social media star, Busy Bear, is stepping out of the limelight.

The giant teddy bear started as Superintendent Mark …

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A Source of Smiles

Busy Bear retires from limelight after sharing adventures on M-P social media

Posted

Following nearly three months of continued publicity, Mid-Prairie’s newest social media star, Busy Bear, is stepping out of the limelight.

The giant teddy bear started as Superintendent Mark Schneider’s contribution to a “teddy bear hunt” organized in the first week of closures but grew to an uplifting distraction during the extended period of distance learning.

“We thought it would be kind of cool to have this teddy bear riding (our) fiberglass horse, and so we did that,” Schneider said. “That teddy bear was on that horse for maybe four or five days, and we added it to the map, so people could drive by and see it.”

A few days later, Schneider had to bring the bear inside from the rain but couldn’t find anywhere to let it dry.

“I just went in through the garage and laid it on the hood of my wife’s car to dry out, but I didn’t tell anyone I did that,” he said. “The next day, my wife went to the garage and found this teddy bear on the hood of her car… like ‘how do you explain this?’

“I crafted a response, made up a little story about how that teddy bear got onto the hood of her car and of course sent it to everybody, and from that, Busy Bear was born.”

From there, the massive teddy bear became a fixture on Mid-Prairie’s social media. Schneider and his family began posing the bear for pictures as a welcome distraction in stressful times.

“I was just doing it for people to enjoy, for young students or students of any age,” Schneider said. “It was kind of a nice diversion for our family!”

The family has photographed the stuffed animal logging into a Zoom call, reading a book and sledding, among many other activities.

Had things gone differently, Busy Bear may never have ascended to such high acclaim. The original owner of the massive stuffed animal almost disposed of it before the teddy bear hunt offered a change of fate.

“She actually was going to get rid of the bear because it’s so big,” Schneider said. “I mean, where do you put a 6-foot bear?”

When it came to photo shoots, however, the bear’s tremendous size was its secret to success.

Schneider said it was easy to hide behind for posing shots.

In his final photo of the school year, Busy Bear appears to be riding a paddle boat but is in fact placed in front of Schneider’s 11-year-old grandson, the true operator of the watercraft.

Going forward, Schneider said Busy Bear would “take the summer off” now that the central office has reopened with schools hoping to resume in-person classes this fall.

While the toy bear may still appear in occasional photos, his status as the center of attention has likely come to an end.

“I know this last two and a half months has been very difficult for families, very difficult for the students,” Schneider said. “If Busy Bear just brought a couple of smiles to everyone’s face every once in a while, he served his purpose.”

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