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Communities coming together from a distance
Teddy bear hunts, hearts and sidewalk art offer encouragement
bear smile courtesy 2
Someone created this smiley message at 2536 Forest Ave. Local residents are adding sidewalk chalk art/messages, hearts and teddy bears to their homes and businesses. Photos and addresses can be posted on the Great Bend Tribune’s new Facebook group, “Great Bend Connect.”

As more Barton County residents practice social distancing and eschew groups of 10 or more people, online groups are finding new ways to connect. In fact, the Great Bend Tribune’s newest Facebook group is called “Great Bend Connect.”

Members are have started a Teddy Bear Hunt by placing stuffed animals or bear photos in their windows and posting their addresses so others can drive by and look for them. 

Others are posting hearts. The Facebook group allows parents to show photos of their young artists showing off their creations.

Residents on one block on Forest Avenue are using paper hearts or squares as a signal as well as a message of encouragement.

“The whole street has added green paper(s) to their windows,” according to Brad Maddox. “If it changes to red, it means they require assistance, shopping, medication or transport.”

Other areas have traditional red hearts posted, often bearing encouraging messages.

The City of Great Bend is having an online contest for sidewalk chalk art that runs from March 27-29. To enter the Chalk Your Walk! event, draw or write encouraging messages on a driveway or sidewalk with chalk and share a photo with the location on the Explore Great Bend Facebook page. Then head outside, drive around or take a walk to look for the art and messages.

Cruise nights

Among the events that have spread through social media are the “cruise nights” on Main Street. Group members indicated that these would continue, with one scheduled for Saturday night. Although the Great Bend Tribune has posted the time for these events as 7-9 p.m., they tend to have a life of their own. The revelry reportedly continued past 11 p.m. last Tuesday, and the bass notes from passing car stereos rattled the windows of area homes, said one resident who lives near the action.

She was pretty good-natured about it, but doesn’t want the revival of the tradition of “dragging Main” to include some of its negative aspects, including drunks and loud noise at 2 a.m. However, she said, “I hope they have a good time.” 

People are encouraged to have a good time but remember to maintain social distancing – stay in your vehicle and no public groups of 10 or more. Obey traffic laws and be mindful of others.