TELLURIDE, Colo. — The Colorado mountain town of Telluride has seen extra foot traffic over the past week and during Labor Day weekend due to the Telluride Film Festival. But those dining at 221 South Oak on Wednesday got their own show when a big bear decided to pass through.
“It was later that evening, but with the film festival going on we still had guests in the restaurant,” Sophie Iglar, a manager at 221 South Oak said.
Iglar estimated there were still 15 to 20 people dining inside and outside when the big bear made its way onto the outside dining patio, prompting those outside to head in.
“Someone ran down and said there is a bear upstairs and I said ‘Oh no here we go!’” Iglar said.
The whole thing was caught on camera by both staff and those dining.
“Our little neighborhood bear was on our back patio and then came up and around and headed towards the street,” Iglar said.
The owner and chef at 221 South Oak, Eliza Gavin, has owned the spot for 23 years. She said they see bears around there a few times a year, but they take all the proper precautions like secure trash bins to try and prevent the furry visitors.
“He’s huge. I don’t know in the size of bears, but he is a big bear,” Gavin said.
She said this time around kind of turned into training for staff when it comes to being bear aware. She said they had everyone come inside and shut the doors and windows.
“For us locals that live here, we aren’t too surprised when you see a bear, but for the people visiting there was for sure some shock and some fear,” Iglar said.
In one of the videos shared you could hear a staff member making loud noises to scare off the bear.
“These bears want fine dining trash and this was not the first time I have seen this bear,” Gavin said.
The bear eventually went on its way. Right now bears are prepping for hibernation with colder weather on the way. So Gavin said it’s crucial those in bear country secure trash, keep windows shut and be proactive so both the bears and humans alike stay safe.
“The bears right now… It’s getting colder, so they are looking for food,” Gavin said.
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