"Pumpkin", a citron cockatoo, will be one of the colorful birds with Snellville-based Parrott Productions that will participate in the Interactive Parrot Show on Aug. 25 and 26 at the Big Haynes Creek Wildlife Festival at the Georgia International Horse Park.
CONYERS -- It's going to be a wild weekend at the Horse Park later this month with reptiles, exotic birds and a glimpse of Native American History.
The 6th Annual Big Haynes Creek Wildlife Festival will be held Aug. 25 and 26 on the Grand Prix Plaza at the Georgia International Horse Park.
The popularity of the event continues to grow. Rebecca Hill, event manager with the GIHP, said the first Wildlife Festival, held in 2007, drew about 3,000. By last year, around 6,000 people attended the festival.
"It's growing little by little, and every year things get added," Hill said.
This year, Ray Knight with Alcovy Taxidermy in Covington, will display some native wildlife that has been mounted, including the largest legally harvested alligator in the state of Georgia.
Knight said the alligator, which was caught in September on Lake Eufaula, weighed 860 pounds and is 13 feet, 9 -1/2 inches in length. He estimated that the alligator was between 175 and 200 years old.
In addition to the alligator, Knight will display striped bass from Lake Jackson, Eastern wild turkey, hooded Merganser duck, and a white-tailed deer.
"We'll have somewhere between 40 and 50 wildlife animals on exhibit," he said.
Festival-goers can also participate in the Interactive Parrot Show and children can take part of the Hoot Scavenger Hunt, where if they find "Hoot" the owl and return him to the information booth, they can win souvenirs.
Jason Clark with the Southeast Reptile Rescue will be on hand again this year with the Reptile Wagon, to provide an up-close look at snakes, turtles and alligators.
A living history section at the festival will provide guests a glimpse into the past when Creek and Cherokee Indians lived off the land.
Other events at the Wildlife Festival include activities sponsored by the East Metro Tennis Association, camel rides, Spider Mountain, Hamster Ball, the Georgia State Frisbee Dog Championships and steam engine train rides.
Throughout the day, attendees can stroll through the artist market and enjoy live entertainment featuring award-winning Georgia artists.
Photography lovers are invited to enter the BJ's Membership Club Backyard Wildlife Photo Contest. Anyone who has taken photos of wildlife or nature over the summer is encouraged to enter submissions by Aug. 10. Three finalists will be selected for display during the Wildlife Festival, where guests can vote for their favorite photo. The winning submission will receive a $100 gift certificate to BJ's Membership Club. The name of a voter will be selected at random to win two free tickets to the Georgia Aquarium.
Admission to the Wildlife Festival is $5. Children ages 4 and under are free.
For more information, call the Conyers Welcome Center at 770-602-2606 or visit www.bighaynescreekwildlifefestival.com.
Citizen Photographer Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith contributed to this story.