Winter has its own beauty but after five months of dark evenings (and mornings), scraping car windshields, and dressing like the Michelin man before heading outside, I am ready for spring! It is a time of renewal for Mother Nature and her enthusiasm for new life invigorates mine. (I’m also enjoying the extra sleep since I put the shovel away.)
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate spring why not head out to these Northwestern nature festivals and enjoy spectacular wildlife, yummy food, and entertaining speakers?
The Brant Festival in Parksville-Qualicum Beach, British Columbia runs until April 17. Thousands of Brant geese take a break from their northward migration to feast and rest. You can follow their lead and enjoy spring-themed dinners, art displays, and relaxation ocean-side while you watch the avian action. Dolphins and whales sometimes join the party. http://www.brantfestival.bc.ca
Drop into Hoquiam, Washington for Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival May 6 – 8. You won’t be the only one from out of town. Shorebirds from as far away as Argentina stop before heading north to the Arctic – a 15,000 mile round trip if you’re counting – and you can see tens of thousands of birds in the Grays Harbor estuary. To get your tickets for bird tours or a special presentation on butterflies head to http://www.shorebirdfestival.com
Wings Over the Rockies in Invermere and B.C.’s Columbia Valley May 9 – 15 is one of North America’s longest running and largest nature festivals. There are seven days of hikes, paddles, horseback riding, and evening presentations. I’ll be speaking Friday, May 13 at 7pm with my stories and pictures in “A travel writer with a birding habit”. Tickets for all events go on sale April 11 at http://www.wingsovertherockies.org
Utah’s Great Salt Lake Bird Festival May 12 -16 has a great lake and great birding. The birds come for the lake, the people come for the birds and for the celebrities who love birding. James Currie from Nikon’s Birding Adventures TV appears this year and will get everyone excited about our feathered friends. One year at this festival I had the pleasure of meeting Brad Harris – the record-setting birdwatcher played by Jack Black in the movie The Big Year – and realized I’d become an official bird-nerd! Get your binoculars on at http://www.GreatSaltLakeBirdFest.com
British Columbia’s Meadowlark Nature Festival May 19 – 23 highlights overlooked attractions in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys. You can canoe, hike, participate in indigenous cultural events, stargaze, paint watercolors, or be a rock gummy (geologist for a day). Tickets go on sale April 9th at http://www.meadowlarkfestival.ca
These are some of my favorite festivals but there are more. What’s the best festival you’ve attended?