RIDGEFIELD, WA – The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem located just 20 minutes north of the greater Portland metro area, and hosts hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife.
The Refuge is also the home of the annual BirdFest & Bluegrass Festival — the annual celebration of the fall migration of the Sandhill Crane, hosted by the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
Thousands of people flock to Ridgefield every year to celebrate, experience wildlife first-hand, and learn about the local history against the backdrop of open habitat as far as the eye can see. This year’s festival marks the 20th Anniversary of the event!
A Weekend of Activity
Have you ever seen Sandhill Cranes dance? Visited a living Plankhouse? Paddled the water canals through Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge?
The weekend kicks off with a few popular events on Friday, including (for the first time) two Sandhill Crane tours — one in the morning and one in the evening.
Also, join the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge for our BirdFest & Bluegrass 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Ilani Casino & Resort.
There will be food, drinks, and a silent auction. We look forward to kicking off this milestone festival with you!
Saturday will be packed with activities for all ages. From bird walks and bird language workshops to Sandhill Crane tours, and a variety of hikes (including: photo, geology, ethnobotany, and an evening hike) — there will be plenty to do and see! Kayaking and Big Canoe trips on Lake River can be reserved in advance by calling the numbers listed on the web site or in the schedule of events.
A special offering that makes our BirdFest unique is the Sandhill Crane tours. Not only do you get to view these outstanding birds, but you get an exclusive opportunity to visit an area of the Refuge not often open to the public. This unique wildlife viewing experience has become one of the festival’s signature events. Reservations can be made through the Friends website.
Three locations, unlimited fun and discovery
The Refuge has two entrances, at the Carty Unit and the River ‘S’ Unit, and both are filled with activities for families and for the birder, photographer, or hiker.
On Saturday, there will be children’s activities on the Carty Unit of the Refuge, as well as in downtown Ridgefield, where you can find an Audubon Wild Bird Show, craft stations, Bluegrass pickers, and more. Visitors can enjoy bird and nature tours, and presentations by regional experts who will share fun facts and information about the Refuge and the wildlife that inhabit it.
This year’s featured bird, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the event, is the Sandhill Crane.
With the bird language workshop, you’ll learn secrets to understanding the common birds around your home and what they have to say.
The weekend will also include a watercolor workshop, a digital photography workshop, and a traditional salmon bake the will be held Saturday afternoon on the Refuge, with complimentary samplings. Visitors can also get an early start on holiday shopping.
The Birder’s Marketplace on Saturday at the Ridgefield Administrative and Civic Center (RACC) will offer great buys on garden items, pottery, art, photography, birdhouses, clothes, books, and other items. Food booths will be open on Saturday as well as Ridgefield’s Saturday Market in Overlook Park.
The wildlife and cultural offerings of the weekend are complemented by a day of bluegrass on Saturday.
The Picker’s Festival attracts pickers from around the Pacific Northwest who jam throughout Ridgefield at businesses, venues, and parks. BirdFest is a non-profit festival hosted by the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge to encourage an appreciation for the wonders of nature and our special Wildlife Refuge.
For more information and a schedule of events, go to: