The second annual Wildlife, Heritage and Outdoor Festival (WHO Festival) is being held on September 22 at Mike Miller Park in Benton. The goal of this festival is to create a family-oriented event that celebrates community assets, opportunities, and traditions that have contributed to a long-standing outdoor heritage in western Kentucky. Last year was the first year for this unique event and it was a huge hit.

Through this festival, organizers hope to create a culture that celebrates outdoor heritage and maintains this heritage long into the future as communities grow. Local organizations have come together to make WHO fest happen. They include the Marshall County Fiscal Court, Mike Miller Park, Community Financial Services Bank, Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, Kentucky Lake Chamber of Commerce, and Murray State University.

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This festival promotes the unique outdoor recreational opportunities available on both public and private lands in western Kentucky and the associated economic benefits of these opportunities. TIts also an opportunity to highlight our connection with nature and the various ways we can contribute to the conservation and sustainability of our home.

The 2018 Festival activities will include many fun family activities and events. You can browse the” Score a Whitetail” exhibit. Enter the the Ducks Unlimited wildlife calling contest with the Murray State University Wildlife Society or the photography contest organized by the Marshall County Photography Club.

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Participate in the youth fishing derby with FLW. Enjoy live music, wildlife exhibits,and archery tutorials with the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge. There’s pumpkin and rock painting, as well as a pumpkin patch and hayrides.

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There will be a hunter education range organized by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Bowfishing and kayak demonstrations with Kentucky Lake Outdoors and bee keeping with Andy Todd.

CFSB is hosting an Outdoors Kids Corner and there will be a petting zoo and face painting. Shop at the farmers market and craft vendors, or browse a variety of educational booths. Enter the Wildlife Costume contest, meet “Smokey the Bear” with the US Forest Service, and “Get Your Goose on” with Puddles and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They will also have a booth about illegal wildlife trafficking.

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That's not enough?! Try“Jumping Like Wildlife” in Bounce Houses provided by the Friends of Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge. Animal Olympics with the Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge, or learn about wildlife furs and snakes with Murray State University Wildlife Society.

Organizers hope that, just like last year, this wide variety of activities will attract a broad audience of outdoor enthusiasts to the event. Public land managers, organized community groups, outdoor recreation supply vendors, and food vendors have been invited to participate as well.

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For more information about this festival or how to become a vendor please visit their Facebook page @WHOFEST2018 or contact the Friends of Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge at 270.493.6196.

Friends of Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge

The Friends of Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge is a group of volunteers that recognize the refuge’s benefits to the community and are dedicated to its goals. The Friends assist with various activities such as the establishment and restoration of habitat, grant writing, promotion of refuge events, environmental education programs, and increasing wildlife recreation opportunities.

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Joining the Friends gives you an opportunity to help link the public to the refuge in order to promote awareness and a broader understanding of the refuge and the community’s role as stewards of the environment.