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Alton Teddy Bear Festival: A Unique Teddy Bear Event   (Back)

Wed, 25 May 2016

The fourth annual Alton Teddy Bear Festival will be held this June in the market town of Alton in Hampshire. Hosted in the historic Assembly Rooms, the event attracts dedicated collectors while still appealing to local enthusiasts and young fans. Visitors from Alton and the surrounding area have previously mingled with attendees from Scotland, Wales, Australia, USA and Denmark. So come see what all the excitement is about!
Jane Griffin, this year’s event organiser, says she is ‘keen to offer something for everyone. We have people returning each year both exhibiting and visiting along with their bears. It is important to grow the event and bring in fresh, new ideas. This year’s event will do just that.”
Like most children, Jane had an interest in bears from a young age. An avid knitter, she started her teddy bear business, Dooby’s Knitting Needles, named after her own beloved bear. The business makes bespoke teddy bear clothing that has been sold worldwide. Jane’s first order came from a friend asking for eighteen hats to fulfil a ‘Pay It Forward’ promise. With all eighteen teddy bears posting pictures of their hats on social media sites, orders began to come in not only for hats, but for custom made jumpers and other knitted items. You can find Jane at the Dooby’s Knitting Needles stand, which offers a selection of fabulous fashions for your bear.
For bears that need a little tender care and mending, the festival provides an annual check-up with the Teddy Bear Doctors from Bear It In Mind. They can handle small repairs on the day or provide a quote for more serious surgery.
For Ann from Texas, this service was invaluable. “I had a dear teddy in need of mending, as he’d lost a lot of his stuffing from years of love. It was wonderful to have him mended on the day so I didn’t have to leave him.”
In addition to dressing and tending to your existing bears, the festival also offers an opportunity to explore a range of new bears looking for homes. Some returning exhibitors include Higgys Bears, Dari Laut and Jan’s Tiddy Bears, all bringing a selection of firm favourites, along with their new designs.
The Alton Teddy Bear Festival even offers visitors the opportunity to try their hand at making their very own bear. Mohair Bear Making Supplies provides a range of fur and mohair along with bear patterns and kits for novice to experienced makers in addition to accessories such as eyes and bear joints for movable bears.
Collectors will delight in the selection of famous bears such as Charlie Bears, Merrythought, and of course, Steiff available for purchase. These famous bears are always popular and the festival is a perfect time to add one or more to your collection.
Indeed, the event has maintained its ‘family’ feel with visitors of all ages. Jane says, “We have young children returning each year asking ‘is the man with the bears here?’ meaning David from Grandpa’s Pre-Loved Bears. He ‘rescues’ good quality bears of all shapes and sizes, offering something to cater to all budgets.”
Jane notes that it is important to nurture young children into loving bears not only as ‘cuddle companions’ but also as fantastic collectable items, maybe even creating the Bear Artists of the future. With so many bears, clothing items, and other accessories to choose, the festival is a delightful event for children, their families, and collectors of all ages.
So come join the festivities and delight in the wonderful world of teddy bears. The Alton Teddy Bear Festival takes place on Saturday 18th June from 10 am – 4pm in the Alton Assembly rooms.