Black Bear Festival kicks off tonight
The St. Mary Chamber of Commerce hosted a Bayou Teche Bear Festival Kick-Off Party Thursday at the Teche Theatre in Franklin. Participants were served food from several local eateries and listened to music provided by Rick Lorenzo and Mark Robicheaux. Bayou Teche Bear Festival board members Catherine Siracusa, Edgar Dugas, Michelle Frederick and Delores Stewart, pictured above from left, display the 2014 festival poster and T-shirt. Below, Bayou Teche Bear Festival Queen X Nikki Nicole Pennison is pictured with Mayor Raymond Harris and board member Delores Stewart.
Bears, bands and booths take center stage today on the banks of Bayou Teche in downtown Franklin.
The Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival kicks off at 6 p.m.
The festival, celebrating and supporting the Louisiana black bear, enters its 11th year this weekend, and the wooden boat show will be the fifth.
Bear Festival co-organizer Edgar Dugas III said, “Probably the best-kept secret and underutilized event that’s been going on for years and years is the guided canoe trips into the black bear refuge with Donovan Garcia.”
Garcia works with the Friends of Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge for a canoe adventure which journeys deep into the Bayou National Wildlife Teche Refuge. It is a guided, easy pace paddle that is suited for beginners or families. Preregistration has ended but persons with their own canoe may join the trip that begins at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Fairfax Foster Bailey Boat Landing on the south end of Willow Street.
There may be an additional tour on Sunday if enough people wish to participate.
This year’s fireworks show will be “bigger and better than ever,” Dugas said of the 8 p.m. Saturday event.
The educational area in the Blevins Building may also be open Sunday, Dugas said. It will be open Friday and Saturday as usual.
Music this year features Krossfyre at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Chubby Carrier at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Soul JukeBoxx and Foret Tradition play Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively, which Dugas compares to recent performances by the Michael Foster Project in the city.
The Cajun Horseshoe Contest continues to grow and will be at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Dugas thanked festival sponsors and volunteers for helping bring the event to Franklin.
BEARS, the Bayouland Emergency Amateur Radio Service will be on the festival grounds with displays and demonstrations, as well as publicizing the festival on the airwaves.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be conducting boat tours into the refuge Saturday at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Running of the Bears 5K Run/Walk is set for 8 a.m., Saturday, at the St. Mary Parish courthouse square Saturday.
Food and arts and crafts vendors will be along Teche Drive, and many other attractions are slated for the weekend.