Arlee Lang is a regular at The Morning Star Holiday Bear Giveaway every December.
Amanda Quiring came for the first time, but arrived just a bit later than Lang.
Both were among close to 50 people who braved cold temperatures to be in line for a free Gund teddy bear in the newspaper’s annual Christmas tradition Saturday.
Lang brought her grandson, Truth, who turns 13 Dec. 19. They were first in line at 2 a.m.
“I wasn’t sleeping and neither was he,” laughed Lang.
Said Truth, a Grade 8 Fulton Secondary student: “I’m usually asleep at that time except on weekends. But we came to get bears for both of us.”
Quiring showed up at 8:25 a.m., which earned her some friendly rounds of booing as she was No. 40 in line, which made her eligible to pick up a bear. The first 50 people with receipts totalling at least $300 from participating businesses were eligible for the free bears and a chance to win $500 in gift certificates from the sponsors.
“I read about this in the newspaper,” said Quiring. “One-in-50 odds (to get a bear) are pretty good. I’m getting one for my daughter, Evelyn (aged two).”
People brought sleeping bags, tents and even a propane fireplace to stay warm as they waited in line.
The Morning Star provided coffee, hot chocolate and Timbits from Tim Hortons.
Carol French – lucky No. 7 in line – was the grand prize winner of the gift certificates in a draw made after the bears had been given away by Morning Star staff and family.
“There’s been people that have every single collectible Gund bear,” said advertising manager Trent Dansereau of families and individuals who return year after year to get a bear.
This year’s collectible Gund is Indigo Bear, an ultra-soft dark blue bear with a collector’s tag.