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Charlie Elliott holds festival Saturday

MANSFIELD - Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center is offering kids a chance to get off the sofa and get into the great outdoors.

The center will host its 13th Annual Outdoor Festival and JAKES Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center's Discovery Area in Mansfield.

Sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division and the Georgia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the event offers an array of activities that focus on wildlife, conservation and outdoor recreational opportunities in Georgia.

Kids will have the opportunity to try archery, fishing and shooting and go on a mini-boat ride with a Wildlife Resources Division conservation ranger. Other activities include a scavenger hunt, face painting, a puppet show, retriever demonstrations and live snake and bird of prey demonstrations.

"A lot of people want to get outside and try different outdoor activities, but maybe they're not sure where to start," said Linda May, wildlife interpretive specialist and festival coordinator. "Maybe it's because a lot of adults these days are disconnected from outdoor activities or how to teach kids. Kids may be showing an interest in hunting or fishing or water sports, that sort of thing, and parents maybe aren't sure how to guide them in the right direction. This is a great opportunity for kids to get some direction and be able to try their hand at some of these difficult activities in a fun and safe way."

The festival is geared toward children, but there will be plenty to enjoy for the whole family, May said. Adults are asked to remain on hand and supervise children throughout the duration of the festival.

Admission is free, and the first 500 children to arrive will receive a free T-shirt and a free hot dog lunch. Adults can eat for a nominal fee.

Memberships in the Turkey Federation's JAKES Club, which educates and involves youth in wildlife conservation and stewardship, will be available for kids under age 17.

For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com and click on the "Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center" link or call the center at 770-784-3059.

The center is located at 543 Elliott Trail in Mansfield.

The festival will take place rain or shine.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.