Arlington’s Eagle fest attracts crowds

ARLINGTON — The second annual Arlington Eagle Festival attracted about 250 people to its program in the City Council Chambers Feb. 7 who also made their way to the art show across the street and to other events in the Stillaguamish River Valley.

“Jen [Sevigny] said they had 20 cars at the estuary,” said Bill Blake, the city’s natural resources manager who worked with recreation coordinator Sarah Hegge and the city’s Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission to present the event with assistance from Jen Sevigny, of the Stillaguamish Tribe. The Tribe also contributed $2,000 to pay for the visiting speakers and various other expenses.

“Assuming there were two or three people in each car, I’d say it’s a safe bet that 50 or 60 people were there.” Blake said, adding that they saw nearly 30 eagles flying overhead.

Down at the river in Arlington, 40 people gathered to watch the ribbon cutting of the new Eagle Trail which follows the edge of the Stillaguamish River from Haller Park to Dike Road, passing under the SR 9 Haller Bridge, and past the Hammer/Butler round house that the city owns as part of its soon to be upgraded wastewater treatment process. The field adjacent to the trail will be developed into wetlands that will be landscaped with trails through the ponds and cattails.

Back in town, volunteers from the Sarvey Wildlife Center gave two presentations to standing room only crowds, showing live birds, from tiny little owls, a red-tailed hawk and a falcon, to both a golden and the popular bald eagle named Freedom.

Between the two live bird presentations, a Northwest eagle habitat expert, Libby Mills provided a life-time of information about eagles and their habitat with detailed information about preserving water quality and fish habitat in order to keep the eagles healthy.

“I was glad to see a crowd stay for my talk. It’s much easier to get excited with a big audience,” Mills said, noting it was a good plan to schedule the live birds on both sides of her talk.

“We need to understand the importance of keeping the river water cool for the fish,” Mills told her audience.

Across the street at the former office of The Arlington Times, a continuous stream of folks perused the art show presented by the Arlington Arts Council. That show included more than 30 entries in the eagle photograph contest coordinated by the Eagle Festival committee as well as about the same number of entries of wildlife art.

The winner of the eagle photo contest was Jim Stiles, for a 16 x 20 inch framed picture of a bald eagle sitting in a snow-covered tree. He won $100 from the Arlington Arts Council.

A new member of the Arlington Arts Council, Louise Magno won the $100 prize in the wildlife art contest, which included all media. Magno won for her photograph of a barn owl.

Wagon rides with Sugar and Spice were also a popular attraction on this warm and sunny winter day.

The city’s economic development manager, Vic Ericson, helped plan the event.

“We intentionally started small last year with plans to grow and we did,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see so many people in town.”

Click here for more photos.

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