Black bear festival coming up in Highlands

A Mountain Black Bear Festival is set for June 10 and 11 at the Highlands Civic/Recreation Center, featuring exhibits, artisans and programs related to black bears.

• A free program on “co-existing with bears” will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 10, by renowned photographer Bill Lea, co-founder of the American Bear Association. One of Bill Lea’s large framed bear prints will be raffled off.

• From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, there will be exhibits, fine art, crafters and bear experts, including Lea. A chainsaw carver will be there with his chainsaw and recent creations. Bear-oriented activities for kids will be provided by bear experts Anne Allison and Kathy Sherrard of Appalachian Bear Rescue. Fine art prints by Jan Lemmons and  Robert Tino prints will be for sale, as well as other art and crafts.

• At 2 p.m., Joel and Kathy Zachry will present a program based on their book, Bears We’ve Met.

The cost of admission on Saturday is $2, with kids 12 and under free.

The program is sponsored by Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance, which has launched the Bear Smart Initiative. Its mission is to “reduce conflicts between bears and humans and to promote their peaceful coexistence by fostering appreciation for bears, addressing the root causes of bear-related problems, and teaching principles for living safely with bears.”

828.526.0890, ext. 320.

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