Nova Scotia

Vandals burned down this giant teddy bear, but its creator may rebuild

Blake Jennings awoke Tuesday to the smell of smoke and the news that someone had set his iconic teddy bear hay sculpture ablaze.

Witnesses told RCMP they spotted an ATV near the Masstown pumpkin patch Monday night

Blake Jennings awoke to learn that the giant bear he built for tourists and visitors was torched overnight. (Blake Jennings)

Blake Jennings awoke Tuesday to the smell of smoke and the news that someone had set his iconic teddy bear hay sculpture ablaze.

The Masstown, N.S., poultry farmer has run a pumpkin patch since he was nine. To attract customers to the Colchester County pumpkin U-pick, Jennings and his father would create something magical using hay bales, corn stalks and a day's worth of hard work.

This year's creation was reduced to a smoking pile overnight, Jennings said Tuesday afternoon.

"I've had pumpkins stolen from my business before, but never any kind of vandalism like this," he said.

It takes Jennings and his father about a day every year to build the giant sculpture from hay bales. (Blake Jennings)

Jennings has run Blake's Pumpkin Jungle for 14 years, kicking off each season with a new creation. For the first few years it was a pumpkin man, but the teddy bear became more popular, with kids posing for pictures standing between paws that were as big as them.

"Last year, I actually left it up past Christmas," Jennings said. "I decorated him … with a bow and a present and everything. I kept him up because the community and families and kids just love him."

That community loyalty emerged on social media Tuesday, condemning whomever had razed the hay bear. A Facebook post by Jennings had been shared roughly 2,800 times by 4:45 p.m.

"It certainly sucks, but at the same time it's nice to see all the support from everybody," Jennings said. "It really meant something to a lot of people, more than I ever really imagined."

People have offered to donate the $200 worth of hay needed to rebuild the bear, which is something he's considering doing.

RCMP Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said no one has been arrested in connection with the fire. He said other than a report of an ATV near the farmer's field, the Mounties have few leads.