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The Great Delta Bear Affair was first observed in 2002 on the 100th anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt’s famous bear hunt in Sharkey County, Mississippi which led to the creation of the Teddy Bear. This year’s theme is “Baby Bear Blues.” The festival will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2010 on the grounds of the Sharkey County courthouse in Rolling Fork. Events will begin at 7:30 a.m. and conclude with fireworks just after dark. Rolling Fork is located on Highway 61 approximately 40 miles south of Leland and 40 miles north of Vicksburg.
The festival also highlights our state’s bountiful natural resources and commemorates Roosevelt's famous 1902 bear hunt. President Roosevelt and his savvy guide, Holt Collier, tromped through the woods of Sharkey County in search of bears. They found one, and the rest, as they say, is history. The Great Delta Bear Affair is one of the most unique festivals in the Delta.
Many people attend the annual festival each fall and enjoy many free seminars, special events and other various entertainments. At the Sharkey-Issaquena Library there will be storytelling with Doris Jones at 10:30 followed by a live snake presentation with Terry Vandeventer at 11:30 and then a seminar on black bear research at 1:30 with Stephanie Simek. Other events this year include a 5K Run/Walk at 8:00 a.m., a Teddy Bear Fun Run for ages 5 to 12 at 9:00 a.m. and the ever popular chainsaw woodcarving demonstrations throughout the day by Dayton Scoggins.
There will be Prehistoric Mound driving tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., which will begin at the U.S. Department of Agriculture building located on Frontage Road just off Highway 61. These tours will be led by Mr. Sam Brookes who is an archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service.
Entertainment on the main stage will kick off at 9:00 a.m. with the Sharkey-Issaquena Mass Choir and will conclude at 7:00 p.m. with an amazing display of fireworks. During the day, there will be other entertainment which includes Meredith Virden with Bryan Ledford, the King Edward Blues band, Boogie Boys, Eupora, the Grayhounds and more. Food, arts and crafts vendors and other exhibits will open at 9:00 that morning.
There will be a bungee jump, a giant blow up slide, space jump and rock climbing wall for the children starting at 11:00 a.m. and concluding at 4:00 p.m. Tickets must be purchased for the games.
Since its debut, the Great Delta Bear Affair has helped educate many people about the history and current status of the endangered black bear in Mississippi. Make time to take part in this celebration that promotes the return of the Louisiana black bear to Mississippi. For more information about the festival, call (662) 873‑6261.