Friday, June 14

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

The Crane Festival returns to Monte Vista for 40th year

While the Cranes continued visiting the San Luis Valley in the last few years the COVID-19 pandemic forced the formal festival online.

The Monte Vista Crane Festival is returning to in-person events for 2023—just in time for the 40th anniversary celebration this March. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the The Festival to hold online events throughout the pandemic.

The Festival runs March 10- 12 this year.

With a newly remodeled and expanded Ski-Hi Complex serving as the primary venue, the Crane Fest committee is hosting a lineup of speakers on a wide range of topics, from nesting behaviors of cranes to migration patterns of elk in the San Luis Valley.

The Monte Vista Crane Festival will allow visitors to witness thousands of sandhill cranes, ducks, and geese flying against a backdrop of mountain scenery. Raptors will adorn the power poles and owls will be sitting with their young. A visit to the Monte Vista Crane Festival is an opportunity to see an amazing natural spectacle as well as experience a unique rural community.

Every year, like clockwork, nearly 20,000 sandhill cranes descend on Colorado’s scenic San Luis Valley for a six-week stopover to rest and refuel before continuing their northward spring migration. The town of Monte Vista and the Friends of the San Luis Valley Refuges host the festival.

Sandhill Cranes and other migratory birds follow a long route during their seasonal migrations.

Along the way, there are many places where you can stop and view these beautiful creatures. So, what makes the Monte Vista Crane Festival unique? We believe it’s a combination of unmatched scenery, exceptional wildlife viewing, and the friendly, welcoming communities of the San Luis Valley.

The highlight of the festival is the opportunity for close-up viewing of thousands of cranes at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge as they prance and display for each other, lift off en masse in the mornings, and return to their roosting spots at sunset.

In addition to the cranes, many Canada geese and ducks visit the wetlands of this high-altitude desert framed by 14,000-foot snow-covered mountain peaks. Photographic possibilities are endless when these avian visitors fill the skies over the wildlife refuge.

Activities during the Monte Vista Crane Festival include interpreter-led bus tours to view the cranes as well as field trips to local sites to view and learn about raptors.

There is an Arts & Crafts/ Nature Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The headquarters are at 2345 Sherman Avenue, Monte Vista.

For more information visit the website.:

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