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Owl Festival a hoot for families

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in Rushford All

If you’re tired of winter and are chomping at the bit to get out and do something fun, mark off March 1-3 on your calendar for the International Festival of Owls in Houston, MN.

While the “International” part of the name might make you think the Festival is only for stuffy researchers, you’ll find that it’s actually very fun for families of all interest levels. (You’ll also find that there isn’t such a thing as a “stuffy owl researcher” because these folks are all passionate about what they do.)

In addition to the excellent biological and cultural presentations from the World Owl Hall of Fame award winners from Germany, Kenya, and Taiwan, you’ll find a plethora of children’s activities: owl crafts, a kids’ owl calling contest, professional owl face painting, owl-themed food, and a hatch-day party for Alice the Great Horned Owl.

This year there are also two interactive programs for children. Friday night features the “Owls and Us Game Show” best for children ages 8-12 and Sunday morning offers a “Build an Owl” program aimed toward children ages 4-8. Both include an appearance by Alice the Great Horned Owl and plenty of participation by the kids.

As always, the live owl programs are the smash hit of the Festival with people of all ages and interest levels. After all, who isn’t wowed by seeing an owl up close or having one fly over their head? Jacques Nuzzo of the Illinois Raptor Center will present four high-energy, entertaining live owl programs featuring a variety of live owls and a few special guests.

If you’d like to avoid the crowds, you are strongly encouraged to attend the Festival on Friday or Sunday. Saturday’s events are so highly attended that sometimes the live owl programs are nearly standing room only in the back of the gymnasium.

Advanced registration is only required for the Banquet, Birding and Natural History Bus Trip, and Outdoor Photography Sessions with the Owls. (Registration fees increase after February 24.) An admission button is required for most other events, which can be purchased at the door. Additional fees apply for nest box building, pellet dissection, and face painting.

For more information and to see a short video with highlights of last year’s Festival, go to www.festivalofowls.com.

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