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By Greta Mart/KHNS

This weekend Haines will host the second annual Celebration of Bears festival. Organized by the Alaska Chilkoot Bear Foundation, the free two-day festival offers bear-centric movies, lectures, children’s activities and safety demonstrations. Foundation President Pam Randles says the celebration’s purpose is to make bear education fun.

“Part of our mission is to try and help people to understand how they can live with bears in harmony, and there are a lot of things we can learn that will help that process,” Randles said.

From 11 a.m. to noon on Friday, there will be bear stories for kids at the Haines Public Library. A six p.m. pot luck dinner kicks off Friday night’s events in Harriett Hall at the Fairgrounds. Randles says the Foundation is providing the salmon, but organizers are asking diners to bring dishes a bear would eat. Items made with ingredients like carrots, berries, mushrooms and salad greens.

After the dinner, the Chilkat Dancers are scheduled to perform. The evening’s keynote speaker is Wildlife Biologist Tania Lewis from Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

On Saturday, events are planned at the ANB Hall, Tlingit Park and the Haines Senior Center from nine a.m. to four p.m. People can learn how to use bear spray, make a bear mask, and watch movies about bears. Randles says she hopes the line-up will offer a reason for out-of-towners to come to Haines.

“Part of the reason we hold it at this time of year is so we can maximize getting our visitors in here…because a lot of the locals have good knowledge about bears but we’re trying to encourage visitors as well as locals to come,” Randles said. “We had a good turnout last year so I hope we will have a good turn out this year as well.”

A complete schedule of events can be found at www.bearfoundation.org.