UMATILLA – The Lake County Office of Economic Development & Tourism is inviting residents to attend the 13th Annual Florida Black Bear Festival on Saturday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cadwell Park, located at 4 Cassady St. in Umatilla.
This educational, family-oriented event will give attendees an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about the Florida Black Bear. A myriad of activities and seminars for children and adults are scheduled.
Led by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists Walter McCown and Brian Scheick, participants will be able to hike deep into the Ocala National Forest where they will get a first-hand look at a bear’s natural habitat.
At the festival grounds, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host “Come Be a Bear,” which is a popular activity for children of all ages. In this interactive journey, kids become bears and learn how bears live in the wild. They will be educated on what bears like to eat, how bears prepare for the winter and what a bear’s den looks like.
There will be numerous informational booths and displays where festival-goers can obtain books and various bear-related souvenirs. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Mike Orlando will present a program entitled “A Bear’s Life and Living with Bears,” where he will discuss interactions between bears and people as well as ways to ensure a positive and safe experience. In addition, live entertainment will be provided by “The Acoustikats.”
The festival is free and presented, in partnership, by Defenders of Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service, the City of Umatilla, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about the 13th Annual Florida Black Bear Festival, call the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce at 352-669-3511 or visit www.umatillachamber.org/BlackBearFest/.