Not many people typically have homemade papier-mâché animals that tower above 6 feet tall. Nor does the average person see a bear passing by their front yard. Better yet, witnessing a bear attacking an elephant is almost unheard of. However, for Placerville resident Ed Harrington these events struck all on the same day.
July 17 started out as a typical day for Harrington. He headed to work but then unexpectedly during his lunch break got a call from his wife about a bear in their backyard. Harrington had two papier-mâché animals in his front yard an 8-and-a-half-foot giraffe and a 6-foot-long elephant. His wife saw that the bear was chewing on the head of the papier-mâché elephant but left the giraffe alone.
“It was amazing,” Harrington said when asked about the event. “…the elephant was so big and the bear somehow knocked it over.”
He said that he actually used wood to build 150-pound skeleton of the animal before putting layers of newspaper and water on it, and the fact that the bear could chew through all of that was surprising; furthermore, considering the effort Harrington puts into making the animals, the fact that the bear could knock over the elephant is even more notable.
“The animals take a long time to make,” Harrington said. “I usually get help from my wife to make them.” Harrington also notes that the elephant structure was quite heavy.
The papier-mâché animals were made for a local church harvest festival that occurs around Halloween. Harrington said that he makes the animals to put them on display. This year’s theme is a circus.
“Usually there are about 150 to 200 kids attending the festival,” Harrington said.
The harvest is an annual event put on by the church with themes varying year to year. Last year’s theme was underwater. “It’s really fun for kids because they get to dress up and play.” Harrington said.