There's a reason why I often refer to Berlin as Bearlin. It's because every time I've visited Germany's vibrant capital, a standout has been the many United Buddy Bears - fiberglass sculptures, all of the same mold (a bear figure with its arms up in the air) but painted differently - scattered around town. They reflect their surroundings, as well as peace and prosperity. They oftentimes represent the importance of creativity and diversity in the world, too.
The bear's design represents the connections between Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and Germany's own Mecklenburg, a region in the northern portion of the country and a state (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). Sponsors of the project include Alemannia Society, a nonprofit organization that celebrates German language and culture, in addition to German Saturday School, German American Chamber of Commerce, the Language & Culture Foundation and Regina and Kurt Waldthausen.
Be sure to show some welcoming Southern charm by giving the sculpture a big ol' bear-hug the next time you're Uptown.