40th Annual Crane Festival is swooping into Monte Vista

Courtesy photos The 40th annual Monte Vista Crane Festival is March 10-12. People can view the Sandhill Cranes at various spots in the San Luis Valley during their spring migration, including the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge.

MONTE VISTA — Sandhill Cranes will soon be landing in Monte Vista’s wetlands, bringing with them the 40th annual Crane Festival celebration. The celebration will be held from March 10-12. The City of Monte Vista, and the San Luis Valley Refuges, host the celebration.

Every year in March, cranes can be seen in their natural habitat, as people from all over the Valley and other places travel to see and take pictures of these birds.

Along with the festival, the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce will also host the Crane, Craft, and Home Expo at the Outcalt Event and Conference at SLV Ski Hi Complex. There are many vendors already scheduled to be there this year. There will be wood-crafted art, jewelry, photography, home-baked goods, clothing, and so much more.

Every year, crane enthusiasts along with tourists, flock to the Valley to enjoy the festival. There are experts who speak during the festival, and movies that are shown, along with guided tours that take place.

The highlight of the festival is the chance to look at an estimated 20,000 cranes that fly to the Valley. Attendees look to obtain up close viewing of the cranes, as they fly from their perch at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and then return to their roost when the sun sets. In addition to the cranes, many other birds, such as wild geese and ducks can also be seen at the refuge.

The festival offers tickets that can be purchased online as part of the Keynote Talk series. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door for this event. The Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge opens one hour before sunrise and closes an hour after sunset for people to take pictures and watch the birds.

New to the Crane Festival this year is a 5K walk/run. The event is open to all ages and abilities. The run will begin at the Ski Hi Complex at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 11. There is a registration fee of $25 for the event. Each participant in the event will be given a T-shirt. There will also be medals for the top winners for each age group. Proceeds from the run will benefit the Monte Vista Community Ambulance fund.

For more information about the Crane Festival or to purchase tickets, visit the Eventbrite.com.

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