ARLINGTON — The Arlington-Stillaguamish Eagle Festival for 2013 added not only a second day, but also a host of new activities which the city of Arlington’s Bill Blake and Sarah Lopez deemed successful.
“The paddle rafting on the Stillaguamish River Friday morning [Feb. 1] got 12 signups, which is great for a debut,” Blake said on Saturday, Feb. 2. “The ‘Predators of the Heart’ wild animal show Friday night drew about 800 people, which shows how much people care about wildlife in Arlington. The Port Susan Preserve saw 150 people this year for its nature conservancy guided tour — its biggest crowd ever — and they saw eagles and snowy owls.”
“This also gets more people walking the streets of downtown Arlington and checking out its shops,” Lopez said. “We’d welcome any other ideas for activities that people might have.”
While Blake aims to add “a couple of new things each year,” the Eagle Festival’s familiar favorites remained popular in the meantime, with the second floor of Magnolia Hall attracting onlookers from Marysville and even Everett to the Arlington Arts Council’s Nature Art Show.
“The quality of art has really improved over the years, said Berta Baker, organizer of the Nature Art Show, as she explained how the Arlington Arts Council brought in a Textile Art Show of cloth dolls for the first floor of Magnolia Hall, while moving the kids’ crafts over to the Arlington United Church next door, which was serving a variety of homemade breads and soups.
“My husband and sons entered the art contest, but we’ve done everything today,” said Jennifer Christopherson of Arlington, as her son Jacob colored an eagle drawing. “We did the horse-drawn covered wagon ride, watched the chainsaw carvers in Legion Park and went to see the birds of prey in the Council Chambers. This is our first Eagle Festival, but we’re definitely coming back next year. It’s a really fun family day.”
While Arlington United Church emptied two pots of soup to help fund projects supported by the women of the church, and the Country Chainsaw Carvers returned with 10 of their members to demonstrate their craft and sell their wares, Sarvey Wildlife Center showed off formerly wild birds, in the Arlington City Council Chambers, that can no longer be released due to debilitating injuries.
“Hu Iwake has been with us 12 of her 13 years,” Kestrel SkyHawk said of the Golden Eagle perched on her arm. “It’s terrible that we have to keep such a magnificent bird because her beak is misaligned, but we can’t realign it and she’d starve out in the wild. Normally, Golden Eagles are quite fierce, so that we can show one off to the public is an exceptional opportunity.”