Gov't Buys $4K Inflatable Smokey Bear Costume

By Eric Scheiner | May 4, 2016 | 4:08pm EDT
10’Air-Inflated WalkAround Smokey Bear information from the USDA website.

( - The Department of the Interior has awarded a contract for a 10-foot inflatable WalkAround ‘Smokey Bear’ costume for $4,999.  

The $4,999 price is $919 higher than it would cost to purchase the trademarked “10’Air-Inflated WalkAround Smokey Bear” from the only company licensed to make it.

According to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the contract was awarded on May 3, 2016 to D&B Construction Services LLC of Exeter, Pa. under the Indian Small Business Economic Enterprise set aside designation. Contracts marked with that designation are solicited only from Indian economic enterprises.

D&B Construction Services is listed with the government as a Native American-owned business.

Signs and Shapes International in Nebraska offers the trademarked “10’ Air-Inflated WalkAround Smokey Bear” costume for $4,080 with free shipping.

Dee Ann Bowen of Signs and Shapes International tells, “We are the only ones licensed to produce the trademarked ‘WalkAround Smokey Bear’ costume.”

“Multiple organizations have contacted us looking for a discount on the costume, but we don’t offer one because of cost and licensing restrictions,” Bowen added.

She says the company hasn’t sold any of that particular costume “in some time.”

Information on the WalkAround costume from the Department of Agriculture website notes that Signs and Shapes offers full equipment set up, a 1-year warranty, and free cleanings every six months for the costume.

The inflatable costume involves air hoses, a motor, and a battery pack to be worn by the operator.

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