Discover and appreciate Florida’s largest land mammal as the City of Umatilla celebrates the Twelfth Annual Florida Black Bear Festival on Saturday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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 and others.
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. A popular highlight of the festival is the two-hour field trips into Ocala National Forest bear habitats 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.
The festival also features heritage visits to the historic Carr Cabin, built in 1938 from local and scavenged materials, now an inspiring natural retreat. Or take the Black Bear Scenic Byway tour, with inside information on wildlife, recreational opportunities and land conservation en route.
“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.
There is plenty of family-friendly fun on-site with an interactive children’s area, great food and entertainment, exhibits, demonstrations, movies, author’s presentations, crafts and much more.
For more information, visit www.umatillachamber.org/blackbearfest.