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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bearing the State Fair: Welde’s Big Bear Show provides free, fun family entertainment

 By JILL HAMBEK - Staff Writer
from: Minot Daily News.com
July 24, 2012
Not only are there thrilling carnival rides and a wide variety of food at the North Dakota State Fair, but there are also dancing bears performing several times daily for fair-goers.

Welde's Big Bear Show is just one of the many performances on the free stages at the fair. The bear show is run by John and Monica Welde, a husband and wife team who bring their bears from Florida and provide shows at fairs and other events. Their son also participates in the bear shows. Monica Welde, the narrator of the show, said they have been involved with bears their whole lives and have had them in their family for 86 years. Some of their bears have even starred in Disney movies, she added, and their bears are licensed by state and federal government.

Before the show started, audience members could purchase coloring books featuring bears for $5. There was also a coloring contest for kids and they could turn in their potentially award-winning colorings at the end of the show.
Welde said 100,000 grizzly bears inhabited the open range during the days of Lewis and Clark and ended when the gold rush hit. Bears are one of the most feared animals, she remarked, and remain an enduring symbol of the wild frontier.
 
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 The two bears featured in the bear show are brother and sister, Fred and Ginger. They are European brown bears and are 18 years old. Bears typically live to be about 30 years old, Welde explained, so Fred and Ginger are considered to be middle-aged.
 Ginger started the show by demonstrating her agility on a big red ball, which she was able to stand on for a short time. Bears are agile, Welde said, and also fast runners, warning people never to try to outrun a bear.
The bears in the Welde's show are given a lot of affection and rewards. Their favorite treat is honey, as you'd imagine, but Fred especially likes dog biscuits and frequently receives those. The Welde's bears are like their pets, too. "Be kind to your pets and they'll love you back tenfold," Welde said.
 Also a favorite of the Welde's bears is listening to old-fashioned country music. During the show, Ginger demonstrated her dancing skills by doing a little two-step move along with the music.
read more at:
http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/567598/Bearing-the-State-Fair--Welde-s-Big-Bear-Show-provides-free--fun-family-entertainment.html?nav=5010

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