This year’s Bearfest bear, named “Honeysuckle,” carved by Anne Luetkemeyer.
(Sage Smiley / KSTK)

Wrangell’s late-summer festival celebrating the height of bear season comes out of hibernation this week. 

Bearfest kicks off Wednesday (July 27) and runs through July 31. 

Festival highlights are set to include two evenings of seminars on recent bear research, Tlingit storytelling, the annual Bearfest dinner and auction at the Stikine Restaurant, pie and smoked salmon contests, a community market, and the Bearfest Marathon, half-marathon and 5K races. 

There will be a shuttle from Banana Point at 6:30 a.m. on race day, July 31, for Petersburg residents hoping to run in the Bearfest foot races.

This year’s featured musical guest is The Banta Band, a country, jazz and blues band. The Banta Band will perform at the Bearfest dinner, as well as at Rayme’s Bar Saturday night. They’ll also host a jam session and music workshop at the Nolan Center earlier Saturday afternoon. 

It’s the second year in a row Bearfest has had a live musical guest, after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed 2020’s Bearfest mostly virtual and outdoors. 

More information about events is available on the Bearfest website,

This article has been updated with a corrected schedule.

Get in touch with KSTK at or (907) 874-2345.