UMATILLA — Before the educational fun of the Eighth Annual Black Bear Festival kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 9 a.m., the celebration begins with the special festival opening “Jam-BEAR-ee” on Friday at 6 p.m.
The $6 fish fry is open to the public and is hosted by the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce at Gateway Park, located at 23 S. Central Ave. The fish fry from Fins & Feather Grille includes fried fish, coleslaw, baked beans, beverage and dessert.
The Jam-BEAR-ee features activities for the whole family with live music of First Born, a Christian jazz band, and Woods & Bridges, an acoustic bluegrass band. Jam-BEAR-ee participants can also meet Florida authors Mark Renz, “Florida through Native Eyes,” Edgar L’Heureux, “Florida Conversations," and Frederic Hitt, “Wekiva Winter.” A beer garden will also be hosted by the Umatilla Eagles.
The Eighth Annual Florida Black Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cadwell Park located at 4 Cassady St., Umatilla.
While the primary focus of the free event is to educate festival goers of the Florida Black Bear, it is a family-friendly festival with a complete slate of fun activities, including presentations from authors and environmentalists, live music, children’s activities and guided field trips into the Ocala National Forest to learn more about these furry mammals.
For more information about the Eighth Annual Black Bear Festival, call (407) 323-1298 or log on to www.floridablackbearfest.org.