Eastern North Carolina town holds Bear Festival

Green 108
A 2005 photo provided by the Nevada Department of Wildlife shows a female black bear known as Green 108 in the mountains above Lake Tahoe near Stateline, Nev. The bear known by her tag number, Green 108, has had three cubs from the same litter euthanized after biologists say she taught them to break into homes to get food. (Carl Lackey, Nevada Department of Wildlife via AP)

PLYMOUTH, N.C. (AP) — Bears scare most people, sometimes leading to school lockdowns and warnings to avoid hiking trails.

But in Plymouth in eastern North Carolina, they are celebrating bears with a festival this weekend.

Officials in the Washington County seat are celebrating the North Carolina Black Bear Festival from Friday through Sunday.

Plymouth is advertising itself as Bear Town and tours are guaranteeing the chance to see big bears.

The first festival last year drew about 7,000 visitors, twice the population of the town.

The tours go through private lands near Plymouth and on the Pungo Unit of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

Washington County tourism director Tom Harrison says visitors can see 50 bears in a three-hour tour.

Harrison says it’s not unusual to see bears weighing up to 800 pounds.

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