The 38th annual Monte Vista Crane Festival goes virtual

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    By Ruthanne Johnson
    Monte Vista Crane Festival

    The Monte Vista Crane Festival committee is keeping with the 38-year tradition of a festival in celebration of the annual migration of some 26,000 sandhill cranes through the San Luis Valley. But this year’s festival will be a trimmed-down, online event.

    On March 12, the Monte Vista Crane Festival invites sandhill crane fans from around the country to join in a special Web presentation with stunning videos and slideshows featuring wildlife and photography experts, as well as San Luis Valley community members who somehow play a role in how cranes move through the valley. The two-hour event will offer a live chat option for two-way participation. 

    The lineup includes a feature video — “Cranes of the World” — hosted by crane naturalist Sandra Noll, shorter videos and a slideshow with wildlife and landscape images by award-winning wildlife photographer Ed McKerrow. 

    “The online event will tell the story of the importance of water and agriculture to the future of the cranes,” said festival committee co-chair Deb Callahan. 

    The event is being held in partnership with the Monte Vista Crane Festival committee and Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges. 

    Tickets for the online crane festival are $15 and available now on mvcranefest.org. Folks can join the live event on March 12 at 7 p.m. or watch the presentation at their leisure from March 13-17.

    Also available with the ticket purchase are donation options in support of the festival, which is a nonprofit event organized by volunteers. 

    “Supporting the festival keeps it coming back year after year, and helps support the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, which creates habitat and a food source for the cranes,” Callahan said.

    A video trailer of the online festival is now available to watch on the Monte Vista Crane Festival Facebook page.

    Of course, the sandhill cranes, as well as many duck and other bird species, can still be seen during the spring migration in and around the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. There are currently no restrictions on visiting the refuges, but be aware that refuge restroom facilities may not be open. 

    For more information and to sign up for the March 12 online crane festival, visit mvcranefest.org.