KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee’s 31st annual Crane Festival will take place Jan. 15-16 at the Hiwassee Refuge and Birchwood Community Center in Birchwood. This year’s festival will be smaller than previous years, but organizers hope people can enjoy the sandhill cranes and spend time outdoors.
The two-day event is a celebration of the thousands of sandhill cranes that migrate or overwinter on and around the Hiwassee refuge. It is also used as an opportunity to draw attention to Tennessee’s rich wildlife and the area’s Native American history.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, indoor functions have been reduced and the number of vendors will be limited. Saturday and Sunday, the American Eagle Foundation will make a short presentation. There will be no other animations or presentations as in previous years. However, wildlife and birding experts will be on hand, sharing information and sights with visitors.
At the Cherokee Removal Memorial, Native American folklore scholars will display artifacts and items used daily by Native American residents of the Hiwassee River area. Shuttles will be available to take festival-goers to Cherokee Removal Memorial and Hiwassee Refuge.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Cherokee Removal Memorial and Birchwood Area Society Improvement Council have partnered to host the festival. The festival will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit the festival website.