The town of Rolling Fork will once again be the site for this year’s Great Delta Bear Affair to be held on Saturday, October 22. The festival began in 2002 as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the famous Sharkey County bear hunt of President Theodore Roosevelt which led to the creation of the “Teddy Bear”. The event continues to raise awareness about the lower Delta’s natural resources, particularly black bears.
“There is no doubt that the festival has raised interest and awareness about the growing black bear population in the region,” says Brad Young, Black Bear Program Leader for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. “The support we have received through the festival is vital to our continued conservation efforts.”
Each year the event attracts approximately 5,000 people from all over the state to the Sharkey County courthouse in downtown Rolling Fork. The festival is put on each year by the Bear Education and Restoration Group of Mississippi with support from the local community and organizations. The festival begins on Friday with a series of educational lectures and booths for lower Delta 4th graders on topics ranging from watershed management to Mississippi wildlife. Festivities on Saturday will include live music, food and craft vendors, educational seminars, and children’s activities. There will also be a chainsaw artist on hand carving a 12-foot Teddy Bear as a memoriam to this year’s event.
“The Great Delta Bear Affair is extremely important to the Rolling Fork community,” says Meg Cooper, a resident of Rolling Fork and festival organizer. “Not only has it helped to educate our citizens and visitors on the history and current status of black bears in the lower Delta, it has become a bragging point for the community.”
For more information on Black Bears in Mississippi, visit home.mdwfp.com  or call 601-432-2199 for information on hunting regulations. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mdwfp  or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDWFPonline .