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Smokey Bear birthday festivities scheduled for Wayne National Forest

NELSONVILLE — Final preparations are being made at the Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 65th birthday.

The public event is scheduled for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wayne National Forest Welcome Center, located off US Hwy 33 between Athens and Nelsonville.

The special event, designed to promote the prevention of wildfires, will feature Smokey Bear and the 25-foot cold air Smokey Bear Balloon from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Adults and children (10 years and older) will get a chance to walk-up a historic fire lookout tower.

Birthday cake will be served at 12:30 p.m. Visitors can tour local fire engines and visit with firefighters.

The Athens Fire Department will be on-site with a Kid’s Fire Safety House to teach children how to get out of a home safely in the event of a fire. Children will receive a Smokey Bear temporary tattoo and balloon. Free Smokey Bear portraits will be available.

The Ohio Division of Forestry, Firewise Coordinator is scheduled to inform the public about wildfire prevention and community safety.

The event, hosted by Wayne National Forest, is being held in partnership with the Athens County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, WXTQ POWER 105, Athens Messenger, and Bob Evans Farm.

Another Smokey Bear Birthday Party is being held on Sunday, August 9, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at the Bob Evans Farm in Rio Grande. Come see the 25-foot cold air Smokey Bear Balloon.

Visitors can tour a fire engine and meet firefighters from the Wayne National Forest.

The Homestead Museum, in partnership with the Wayne National Forest, invite you see the story and legacy of Smokey Bear. The exhibit includes campaign posters, photographs, books, toys, educational kits, and Smokey Bear figurines.

Follow both Smokey Bear Birthday Events online at: www.facebook.com/waynenationalforest and also see digital images online at www.flickr.com/waynenf.