Annual Ridgefield festival connects people with nature and music
RIDGEFIELD — The Friends of Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge will present the 18th annual BirdFest and Bluegrass festival from Fri., Oct. 6 to Sun., Oct 8 at various locations in Ridgefield.
The annual BirdFest event allows attendees to learn about local nature, wildlife and Native American heritage. Various events throughout the weekend allow people to learn about birds, natural history and Chinook culture in a variety of ways, from hands-on activities to keynote presentations.
The BirdFest celebration also features bluegrass music performances at a variety of locations and businesses in Ridgefield.
BirdFest activities occur at three separate venues around Ridgefield. The Refuge Carty Unit and Cathlapotle Plankhouse hosts a variety of events related to nature and Native American heritage. The Refuge River “S” Unit and Kiwa Trail location also will host various activities highlighting local nature. Finally, hands-on activities and educational events will be hosted at venues throughout downtown Ridgefield.
The BirdFest festival begins Friday evening with a showing of the film “Love Thy Nature,” at 7:00 p.m. at the Old Liberty Theater in downtown Ridgefield.
The first Sandhill Crane Tour and Night Hike will also occur on Friday evening.
On Saturday, various family-friendly activities will happen at locations and parks throughout downtown Ridgefield. The Audubon Society of Portland will present a live bird show at Union Ridge Elementary School at 1:00 p.m., where visitors can learn about several types of birds and see them up close.
From 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. at the Old Liberty Theater, the BirdFest keynote presentation will be given by Dan Varland and Tony Starlight. It will feature a discussion about this year’s Bird of the Year, the turkey vulture, as well as original music and photography. An entrance fee of a $5 commemorative button purchase or donation is suggested.
At the wildlife refuge itself, visitors can go on bird walks and other hikes that teach about local wildlife and the geology of the region.
There will also be kayak and canoe tours of the refuge. Some events, such as the kayak and canoe tours, the sandhill crane tours, watercolor workshops and photography workshops require pre-registration by Oct. 4.
Cultural presentations about local Native American heritage will also be held at the refuge. Tours of the plankhouse and flintknapping demonstrations are available at the Carty Unit and Cathlapotle Plankhouse on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sunday, there will also be a traditional salmon bake from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
On Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., BirdFest will feature the Picker’s Festival, with a variety of bluegrass performances taking place at venues around downtown Ridgefield. God’s Word Baptist Church will sponsor a featured performance at Overlook Park mid day Saturday.
For more information about the 18th annual BirdFest and Bluegrass festival, as well as a full schedule of events, sign up lists and pricing, visit https://ridgefieldfriends.org/events/birdfest-bluegrass/.