And, according to Cumberland Tourism Director Dianne Corriston, that's when all the fun begins.
Corriston met with members of the Tri-City community on Wednesday in an organizational meeting to launch plans for the third annual Kentucky Black Bear Festival.
Started in May 2004 to celebrate the remarkable comeback of the black bear to the hills of Harlan County, the Kentucky Black Bear Festival's intent is to not only provide enjoyment but education.
"It's called edutourism," Corriston said during the festival committee meeting held at Cumberland's Rebecca Caudill Public Library.
It's a term, she said, that is currently being used and promoted among tourism leaders throughout the state.
"We want it to be wrapped up in fun, but the core of this festival is education," Corriston added.
Ideas were shared and discussed how to make this year's Black Bear Festival the best yet.
Committee member Rick Fuller, who works as manager at Kingdom Come State Park, said the festival was still in its infancy but has the potential of being huge.
"This is only our third year, and it's been a learning experience," Fuller said. "This is a work in progress."
Fuller also said he would like to see the festival evolve into a three- or four-day event.
"As it grows, I'd like to see additional days added to the festival," he said. "That's when you'll get your tourists."
The Kentucky Black Bear Festival is traditionally held the second weekend in May. It was started after Kingdom Come park rangers came up with the concept and presented it to Cumberland tourism officials. It has developed into the official kick-off event for a summer season of bear-watching, photographing, hiking and general enjoyment of Kingdom Come State Park and the surrounding mountains of Harlan County.
"But in the process, we want to educate as many people as we can about the importance of learning to responsibly cohabitate with the bears," said Jeremy Williams, Harlan County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Committee members agreed that most of the festival's education activities should take place at Kingdom Come State Park. In the past, the mountaintop attraction has featured black bear presentations, animal track making for children, as well as fishing and archery activities led by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel.
Suzie Williams, secretary of the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, said she thought better scheduling with visiting school groups would have more of an impact.
Fuller mentioned initiating school visits prior to the festival as an orientation to better inform teachers as well as students what to expect and what they can benefit from attending. He said he and other rangers from his park would be willing to make the school visits.
Besides education, other activities were brainstormed during Wednesday's meeting that were just simply about having fun at the festival. A carnival, car show, a children's beauty pageant, craft and food booths plus musical entertainment were some of the possibilities.
The next Black Bear Festival committee meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. at the Rebecca Caudill Public Library. Civic groups and individuals are invited to attend and become involved.
For more information, contact Corriston at 589-5812.