6th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival kicks off today with aerialists and kids events | SteamboatToday.com

6th annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival kicks off today with aerialists and kids events

A sandhill crane moves through a field west of Steamboat Springs last week. The birds will get plenty of attention this week as the Yampa Valley Crane Festival will take center stage in Steamboat Springs are the surrounding area.
John F. Russell

The sixth annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival kicks off today in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

The first events slated for the festival include educational crane displays from 4 to 8 p.m. outside Library Hall, followed by a performance by the Spirit Wind Aerial Arts dancers, led by local aerialist Heidi Miller. The group will perform elegant high-flying dance in the hammock and silks, suspended high above the library lawn.

Activities for children include a storytelling event from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the library’s Children’s Storytime room and the children’s crane coloring contest award ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in Library Hall. The awards will be followed immediately by a screening of the film, “The Eagle Huntress,” a story of a 13-year-old Kazakh girl from Mongolia who attempts to become the first female eagle hunter to compete in the eagle festival in Ulgii, Mongolia.

The festival, which will continue through Sunday, celebrates the majestic greater sandhill cranes as they migrate through the Yampa Valley and features guided crane viewings, nature and bird walks, expert speakers, films, bird art, workshops, children’s activities, live raptors presented by HawkQuest, ranch tours, a community picnic at The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch and more.

Nancy Merrill, an event organizer and president of the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, said there are still slots open for the events that require pre-registration.

Those events included the following.

  • Guided Crane Viewings and Bird Walks:

Friday, Sept. 1 | 5:30 to 9 a.m.| Departing The Lodge at Steamboat

Saturday, Sept. 2 | 5:30 to 9 a.m. | Departing The Lodge at Steamboat

Sunday, Sept. 3 | 5:30 to 9 a.m. | Departing The Lodge at Steamboat

  • Birding by Pontoon Boat

Friday, Sept. 1 | 8:15 a.m. to noon | Lake Catamount

  • Nature Writing Workshop with author Ellen Bonnifield

Friday, Sept. 1 | 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. | Library Conference Room

  • Wildlife Photography Workshop with professional photographer Abby Jensen

Saturday, Sept. 2 | 9 to 10:30 a.m. | Library Conference Room

  • Reception and Gallery Show

Saturday, Sept. 2 | 3:30 to 5 p.m. | Pine Moon Fine Art Gallery

  • Community Picnic and Guided Crane Viewing

Saturday. Sept. 2 | 4:30 to 8:45 p.m. | The Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch

Bring your own picnic.

Those interested can still register for these events by calling Ashley Steed at 603-913-3150 between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or by going to the festival information desk, which is open from 3 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The desk will be located outside Library Hall.


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