You’re walking peacefully along a beautiful winding marshland trail. Wildflowers meander along the path’s edges, and a light breeze plays at the tips of the cattails. The only sounds are tiny birds singing and the slosh of your feet in the damp soil of the marsh. Suddenly, a piercing, bugle-like call breaks the silence. You go on high alert—scanning the air and holding your breath. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.
You see them. First, the black tips of their wings become clearer as their sleek white bodies fill the horizon. You see a dash of red from their scarlet crowns. And that unmistakable heart-stopping call once again. You know you’re looking at three endangered whooping cranes, and you’re well aware that 70 years ago this sighting wouldn’t have been possible.
Seventy years ago, the number of living whooping cranes in the wild was down to only 15 birds worldwide. With assistance from numerous organizations and other entities, this number has reached over 700 and continues to grow. While the species’ future remains unknown, many continue to fight to raise awareness of the importance of these gorgeous cranes.
Despite the closing of one of the cranes’ biggest allies, Operation Migration in mid-2018, those living in and near Princeton are proud to still be the organizers of the area’s Whooping Crane Festival.
The Princeton Whooping Crane Festival committee and Princeton Chamber of Commerce are excited to announce their 2019 Whooping Crane Festival will commence on Friday, September 13, and run through Sunday, September 15. The main festival will take place Saturday, September 14, at Princeton Public School.
While it may be small, the city of Princeton packs a punch when it comes to hosting events; the Whooping Crane Festival can attest to that!
Some details still remain in the planning phases, but the 2019 festival will feature presenters speaking on topics regarding conservation, nature, and animals that share their habitat with the cranes; children’s entertainer David Stokes; kids’ activities, such as face painting and birdhouse painting; a craft and vendor fair; food prepared and sold by the Princeton Lions Club; a pancake breakfast; and more! The festival will also include pre- and postfestival events, such as field trips to local and area destinations, Friday night dinner with keynote speaker, and a Saturday night wrap-up party.
Alyssa Paulsen is a freelance writer.