- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

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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