13th Annual Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival April 15-16, 2016

13th Annual Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival

Featuring tours into Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge April 15 – 16, 2016

FRANKLIN, LA - The 13th Annual Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival will take place April 15 and April 16, 2016, along the historic Bayou Teche in downtown Franklin. 

The Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival is truly a unique festival.  Along with music, food and fun the festival’s goal is to raise awareness for the Louisiana Black Bear. The festival showcases a free educational component highlighting all aspects of the bear including this year’s delisting, which officially was announced on March 10, 2016.

Traditional events, like the Running of the Bears 5K Run/Walk, boat trips into the Bayou Teche, fireworks on the Bayou Teche, and more highlight the festival.

Registration for the 13th annual Running of the Bears 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by the Teche Action Clinic, KBZE and KFRA, will take place beginning at 6:30 a.m. at the St. Mary Parish Court House Square Saturday, April 16, the day of the event. Pre-registration by March 27 is $20 and guarantees a t-shirt or $15 for entry with no t-shirt or $5 for school teams (per student/ no t-shirt). On the day of the event, registration is $25. The race begins promptly at 8 a.m. April 16.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service along with the Friends of the Bayou Teche Wildlife Refuge will provide free tours through the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge on April 16. Advanced sign-up the day of the event is required. Sign-up will be at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tent which will be located at the corner of Willow Street and Teche Drive on festival grounds. Please register early, as trips fill quickly. Boat trips begin at 8:30 a.m. and occur every 90 minutes thereafter. The last tour leaves at 2:30 p.m.

Also Saturday, adventure seekers may join the Friends of the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge on a paddling adventure into the refuge. This tour will meet at 8 a.m. at the Fairfax Foster Bailey Landing on Willow Street in Franklin. This will be an easy-paced paddle that is suited for beginners or families. For information on this tour, click on the event tab at www.bayoutecherefugefriends.org or contact Donovan Garcia at needtopaddle@yahoo.com or 337-923-9718.

Cajun Horseshoes, “horseshoes using toilet seats,” will be held Saturday, from 1 p.m. until. The fee is $20 per team of two. Must be 18 or older to participate. The event will be held at Veteran’s Park in Franklin.

Arts and crafts booths will be open Friday, April 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 16 from 10 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. along the Bayou Teche in downtown Franklin.

The Feeding Grounds commercial food booths will be open Friday from 6 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. along Teche Drive.

The traditional Be-A-Bear, Black Bear Obstacle Course in the Bear-y Patch returns this year. Go through a year in the life, learning food and denning habits of bears in Louisiana Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the garage of the Blevins Building, located on the corner of Willow and Main streets. The Bear-y Patch will include educational venues from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service Office as well as the Teddy Bear & Friends Repair Clinic. The repair clinic is hosted by Dr. Tesi and her surgical staff. They will take care of your favorite stuffed animal’s repair needs.

A B.E.A.R.S. – Bayouland Emergency Amateur Radio Service – event station will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Also, a fireworks show will take place on the beautiful Bayou Teche, behind the Blevins Building, on Saturday, April 16 beginning at 8 p.m.

The music line-up begins Friday, April 15, with Hal Bruni, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the Yum Yums, 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Saturday, April 16, the music begins with The 5 O’Clock Shadows Band, 12:00 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Old Soul, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Flash Back, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and Johnny Chauvin, 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The 6th Annual Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show will take place in conjunction with the Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival April 15 – 17, 2016. View a collection of antique and newly built watercraft on display, all constructed of wood.

For more information, visit www.cajuncoast.com/bearfest or www.bayoutechebearfest.org.

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