‘It was love at first sight’: Black Bear Festival to kick off this weekend

‘It was love at first sight’: Black Bear Festival to kick off this weekend
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 4:08 PM EDT
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PLYMOUTH, N.C. (WITN) - A festival celebrating an Eastern Carolina icon is kicking off Friday.

Event organizers say the three-in-one North Carolina Black Bear Festival offers dozens of activities for the whole family.

“The biggest, the best airshow, bear show, riverfest equals best day ever,” Tom Harrison, North Carolina Black Bear Festival director says.

Harrison says the festival has free pontoon boat rides, airboat rides, lazy river tubing, and the first-ever rowing races available.

Each year, Harrison and the other organizers try to make the Black Bear Festival bigger than the last.

“The only rain in the forecast is going to be bears raining from the sky,” Harrison says.

The festivities raise awareness about the area that harbors the world’s largest black bears.

The festival also brings an economic boost to small businesses downtown.

“We do about five days’ worth of business in four or five hours’ time,” Lou Manring, Riverview Cafe owner said.

Since 2015, the festival has brought thousands to Washington County, some of whom have developed a fondness.

“It was love at first sight,” Sylvie Batigne of Le Rendez Vous Shop said. “That’s what happened here in Plymouth. We were like... it was so nice. And the people are unbelievable.”

Batigne loved the festival so much, she decided to stick around.

“It blew our mind, it was unbelievable. So many attractions for the adults, for the kids, it was non-stop for two days,” Batigne said. “So we said, ‘this is it. This is our town.’”

The event begins Friday evening at 5 p.m. with pontoon boat rides and carries over into all day Saturday. There will be food, music, fireworks, and more. The museums are open Friday during normal hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More information on the festival activity schedule can be found here.

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