The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem located just 20 minutes north of the greater Portland-metro area, and hosts hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. With sweeping views of the Wildlife Refuge, downtown Ridgefield is the perfect place to shop, eat and enjoy music. The Refuge and downtown Ridgefield are home to the BirdFest & Bluegrass Festival – hosted by the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and the City of Ridgefield. Thousands flock to the festival every year to celebrate the fall migration of the Sandhill Crane, experience wildlife first-hand, listen to local bluegrass music, and learn about the local history against the backdrop of open habitat as far as the eye can see.
A Weekend of Activity on the Refuge
Have you ever seen Sandhill Cranes dance? Walked the trails through Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge? Saturday will be packed with activities for all ages. From a bus tour around the Auto Tour and Sandhill Crane tours, to a Carty Unit self-guided walk, a guided Geology Tour, and family activities, Photo Contest display, and office tours – there will be plenty to do and see!=
A special offering that makes our BirdFest unique is the Sandhill Crane tours. Not only do you get to view these outstanding birds, but you get an exclusive opportunity to visit an area of the Refuge not often open to the public. This unique wildlife viewing experience has become one of the festival’s signature events. Reservations must be made in advance through the Friends website.
The Refuge has two entrances, at the Carty Unit and the River ‘S’ Unit, and both are filled with activities for families and for the birder, photographer, or hiker. On Saturday, there will be children’s activities on the Carty Unit of the Refuge. Visitors can engage with regional experts along the trails who will share fun facts and information about the Refuge and the wildlife that inhabit it. This year’s featured bird is the Killdeer, can be found on our annual commemorative button, available for $5.00 at certain downtown locations.
Vendors, Activities, and Bluegrass Music in Downtown Ridgefield
The festival activities will continue throughout Downtown Ridgefield. Ridgefield First Saturday vendors will be open at Overlook Park from 9am to 2pm with artisan bread and pastries, handmade crafts and gifts, snacks, ceramics and more. The make and take souvenir craft station will also be fully loaded with supplies and instructions for fun BirdFest & Bluegrass themed crafts.
The festival wouldn’t be complete without Bluegrass music! The Picker’s Festival invites pickers from around the Pacific Northwest to jam throughout downtown at dedicated indoor and outdoor jamming stations located at businesses, venues, and parks. Free Bluegrass Concerts, featuring local musicians Phoenix Duo, Ash Creek, Whistlin’ Rufus, Hardshell Harmony, Corral Creek and Whiskey Deaf are scheduled throughout the day. For a list of picker locations and a schedule of performances, visit https://ridgefieldwa.us/event/first-saturday-october/.
Also in downtown, the Friends of the Ridgefield Community Library will be hosting their Fall Used Book Sale in the Ridgefield Library Community Room from 10am-3pm. If you are looking for a new challenge, visit the Abrams Park permanent orienteering course from 10am-2pm to learn how to orienteer and collect bird stickers along the way. The Carts by the Park food cart pod and local downtown restaurants will be open for anyone looking for a bite.
BirdFest & Bluegrass is a non-profit festival hosted by the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and the City of Ridgefield to encourage an appreciation for the wonders of music, nature and our special Wildlife Refuge.
For more information and a schedule of events, go to: https://ridgefieldfriends.org/birdfest-bluegrass/
Friends of the Refuge: Samantha Zeiner, email@example.com, (360) 887-9495
City of Ridgefield/Ridgefield First Saturdays: Ireland Coleman, firstname.lastname@example.org, (360) 857-5019