The project began September 2003, with a vision that Jane and Paul Stahl shared to mount life-sized bear sculptures—the community's mascot—on the streets of Boyertown, PA. The Stahls were inspired by similar sculptures of donkeys and elephants in Washington, D.C. and the original Cow Parade staged in Chicago in 2000. The project secured initial funding through the assistance from a grant awarded to Boyertown Area School District designed to support projects in which students and community worked together.
By May 2005, over 30 Bear Fever bears debuted at the annual Boyertown Area Senior High School's Arts Expo. The bears were sponsored by assorted businesses, organizations, and individuals and created by assorted artists—professional artists, volunteers, and students in grades Kindergarten-college.
Students worked with professional artists, business owners and their staffs, community members, and school personnel in a variety of efforts: promoting the project, developing additional community activities and business ventures related to its mission, marketing, fundraising, grant-writing, and publicizing the project in a variety of media.