Annual festival in Lake County teaches the ‘bear’ essentials about the Florida Black Bear
|The Annual Florida Black Bear Festival is held on the fourth Saturday of March from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cadwell Park located at 4 Cassady St. in Umatilla. For more information about the festival, call (352) 669-3511 or log on to www.umatillachamber.org/blackbearfest.
Discover and appreciate Florida’s largest land mammal as the City of Umatilla celebrates the Annual Florida Black Bear Festival on the last Saturday of March each year, at Cadwell Park, located at 4 Cassady St. in Umatilla.
The festival is presented by a partnership of Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, City of Umatilla, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Umatilla Chamber of Commerce.
“The Florida Black Bear Festival is a fun event full of activities, presentations and field trips that provide participants with information about how bears live; bear behavior; how we can avoid attracting them to our homes; and how we can live and recreate in bear country safely” said Susan R. Martin, Executive Director of the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce.
Festival highlights include:
- Authors’ Corner featuring nationally and locally renowned writers
- Presentations offering bear country safety tips and ways residents can co-exist with bears as well as entertaining bear stories and facts.
- Guided field trips into the Ocala National Forest
- Presentations by well-known naturalists, bear experts and authors
- A family activity pavilion, children’s paleontology dig, animal track casting and bear scavenger hunt
The one-day educational event is fun for all ages as thousands of Floridians and guests are expected to attend the free bash in honor of the black bear. Each year the event grows as more than 8,000 people attended last year’s festival. A popular highlight of the festival is the two-hour field trips into Ocala National Forest bear habitat conducted by the U.S. Forest Service.
The field trips are by bus and include a moderate hike to a site where the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists will provide participants with interactive lessons about bear biology, behavior and management. Reservations fill quickly on a first-come basis and festival attendees are encouraged to register early to reserve a spot.