Teddy bears are far from just stuffed toys for kids. Thousands of teddy bear designers, makers and collecters from around the world are in north-central Iowa this weekend for what’s called the Teddy Bear Reunion. Amy Johnson, manager of the Clarion Chamber of Commerce, says it started with a local teddy bear maker, Steve Schutt, who had been going to teddy bear conventions in other states and nations. He noticed that the conventions in the eastern US only drew people from that region and likewise with the West Coast conventions. Years ago, Schutt decided to hold a convention in the middle, in Iowa, to attract teddy bear enthusiasts from both coasts. Johnson says it worked. The first event was held in 1990 and drew about a thousand people. It’s been held every five years since then in Clarion. Johnson says this year’s event is expected to draw collectors from as far away as Japan and Australia. This is the fourth event in Clarion and there are 500 conventioneers, 250 vendors and up to 10,000 people are expected. It’s being held at the Heartland Museum in Clarion, through Sunday.
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