By Chad Koenen


When you go you gotta go—even if you are a larger-than-life bear.

A large bear in an outhouse in Vining has created quite a few laughs and photo opportunities over the past several months. In a town that features a large foot, cup of coffee, and fork and knife dancing, that says a lot. The bear in the outhouse, who has adopted the name of Gerald, is the brainchild of Lisa Konchal. 

The bear was gifted to her child about three years ago as part of a running joke between friends who give the bear to their children and watch as they try to figure out what to do with the enormous stuffed animal. 

Lisa Konchal has placed a large stuffed bear in a former outhouse at her home in Vining. The bear is part of a running joke with her friends. 

“It was just passed along like here you go, here is a big bear for you,” she said with a laugh.

After movingit  around her house for several years, Konchal moved the giant bear to her front porch last winter to join the find a teddy bear movement that took place during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The bear just kind of moved around and finally last winter with COVID, people were putting those hearts in the window,” she said.

As a result, the bear found a new home on Konchal’s front porch as people drove by looking for teddy bears in windows across the nation. However, as the weather began to warm up this spring, Konchal was hoping to move the bear and utilize her front porch. Looking for a place to move the bear, while still allowing people to find the larger-than-life stuffed ball of fun, Konchal moved it into the former outhouse in the yard of her Vining home.

Konchal said the new location has resulted in a number of unique photo opportunities, as people stop by her house to take a picture of the bear propped up on a toilet, in the outhouse. 

“He just hangs out in the outhouse,” she said.

The fun continued for the Vining resident as Gerald the bear was even decorated for Christmas and can still be seen from the road as people drive by Konchal’s home.

“We talked about that we had to get him a Santa suit and dress him up for the holidays, but as far as we got was a Santa hat,” she said. “People will pull up and take pictures of it.”

Konchal said she doesn’t have any plans to take the bear down anytime soon and hopes people have a quick laugh with Gerald as he hangs out in the outhouse, just down the road from the one-of-a-kind creations at Nyberg Park in Vining. 

“The bear just kind of moved around and finally last winter with COVID, people were putting those hearts in the window,

Lisa Konchal