International Festival of Owls scheduled for March 6-8

With March quickly approaching, so are several popular events in bluff country!

International Festival of Owls

I can't believe it's that time of year again! It is time for the Festival of Owls in Houston, Minn. On March 6 at the Owl Center festivities start at 10 a.m. There will be live owl programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The live owls will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events at Houston High School start at 6 p.m. From 6 to 8 p.m. the vendors will be ready for business and raffle tickets will be available. The children's art exhibit will be on display and at 7 p.m. a live owl program featuring Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl and Eastern Screech Owl will be presented by the Illinois Raptor Center. At 8 p.m. those pre-registered for the Adult and Family-only Owl Prowl will begin.

On March 7 events start at 8 a.m. at the Houston Lutheran Church with an owl pancake breakfast and some owl woodcarving. At 8:45 a.m. the doors open at Houston High School and vendors open their booths and raffle tickets are available at 9 a.m. At the high school there will be live owl programs, owl presentations and kids activities, with the last program starting at 3 p.m. At 2 p.m. there is a short program available at the Owl Center featuring JR the Eastern Screech Owl. Then it is off to Cross of Christ Lutheran Church at 4:30 p.m. for more woodcarving. The banquet is there at 6 p.m. The World Owl Hall of Fame Awards are at 7:30 p.m., ending with a presentation by a World Owl Hall of Fame Champion of Owls Award Winner, Norman Smith at 8 p.m.

On March 8 the day begins at 8:30 a.m. with a Birding and Natural History Bus Trip leaving from the Houston Nature Center and back at 12:30 p.m. Once again the doors to the Houston High School will open at 8:45 a.m. with events beginning at 9 a.m. The vendors will again be there and so will the live programs, presentations and kids activities. At 11 a.m. there is a short program available at the Owl Center featuring JR the Eastern Screech Owl. At noon there will be a special Hatch Day party cake available until it is gone. The raffle drawing is at 1:45 p.m. The final event of the Festival is a Real Life Great Horned Owl Soap Opera with Karla Boehm and Ruby the Great Horned Owl.

If you are a member of the Owl Center your admission is free, otherwise there is a daily admission wrist band required. Adults $10; kids 4-17 $6; and children under 3 years old are free.

 To view the full International Festival of Owls, visit www.festivalofowls.com/schedule.html.

Our granddaughter, Cindie, just loves owls. I don't know why she picked them as her favorite, but she did. We have taken her to the Owl Center and to the festival. It is fascinating what you can learn! Grandson Tim loves hedgehogs so if you know of a Hedgehog Festival, be sure to let me know.

Burger Bracket

The Burger Bracket is set with 20 restaurants. Be sure to hop on the Historic Bluff Country Facebook page and vote for your favorite. The 2020 Burger Bracket Nominees are:

• Elsie's, Good Times & AJ's Bar and Grill, Caledonia

• Estelle's, Harmony

• Jac's Bar & Grill, Chatfield

• The Tas-Tee Shoppe, Hokah

• Shawnee's and Stumpy's, Rushford

• Time Out, Sports Hub, Corkys, Kaddys and Swing Bridge, La Crescent

• B&B Olympic Bowl and The Branding Iron, Preston

• Burdey's Café, Peterson

• The Mill House, Lime Springs

• Carr's Bar & Grill, Racine

• Burgers n BBQ Grill, Grand Meadow

• Doc's Blue Moose, Spring Grove

Another date in March to look forward to is St. Patrick's Day. If you have been keeping up with the Historic Bluff Country website, you know that our president has been working hard to post upcoming events in the area for your information. If you have an event coming up, be sure to let him know so he can post it.

We are officially a member of the National Scenic Byway Foundation and have received our first Monthly Marketing Toolbox. We are finishing up the negotiations and proofs for billboards coming out of La Crosse, Wis., on Interstate 90 and are working on an ad in the Inspire(d) magazine. Our next idea is to set up some co-op advertising. If you have some thoughts on any of this, we would love to hear from you.

As always we are more than willing to help your community with any promotion that you have coming up. We have reconfigured our membership rates to $50 – Individual; $150 – Business; Small Communities - $200; and Large Communities - $300. Counties will be asked to contribute also. We still need a few more board members. If you have any questions or would like an invoice to fill out, please contact us at hbc@bluffcountry.com or syleitzen@gmail.com.