BirdFest and Blue Grass

10/05/2019 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Overlook Park
Address: 113-131 S Main Ave, Ridgefield, WA 98642, USA

20th Anniversary of Birdfest and Bluegrass

A festival that spans downtown Ridgefield and the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge with activities on the Lake River, and a trolley to transport you in between.


Bluegrass Picker’s Festival, Bluegrass performances, Birder’s Marketplace, LOTS of family friendly crafts and activities, Audubon live bird shows, vendors, food and MORE!

10-4PM: Birdfest Themed Family Friendly Activities @ Overlook Park
Farmer’s Market and Birdfest vendors, scavenger hunt by Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, LOTS of kids crafts, food vendors, bluegrass jamming, and MORE!


11AM: Wine Garden opens with Windy Hills Winery
2-4PM: Oregon Zoo ZAP: ZAP Teens will be on hand with some amazing animal skulls and pelts to examine.


10-5PM: Birder’s Marketplace @ Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC)
Fabulous photographs, garden art, jewelry, wood carving, books, bird supplies, glass, ceramics and much more.


12PM: Bluegrass Picker’s Festival around town
Enjoy bluegrass music with pickers jamming in businesses, outdoor venues, and parks throughout downtown Ridgefield.


12-4PM: Bluegrass Performances @ Old Liberty Theater
Band include Sunny South, Whiskey Puppy and Sleepy Eyed Johns


1PM: Live Bird Show @ Union Ridge Elementary School
Sponsored by Audubon Society of Portland.
Meet an owl, a turkey vulture and a raven; learn about their amazing abilities and get close to some of the birds you might see on the Refuge.



3:30PM: Live Birds on Display @ Davis Park
Sponsored by Audubon Society of Portland.
Get a close-up look at these magnificent birds of prey and learn about their habitats.



4:30PM: BIG Canoe Paddle on Lake River @ Public Boat Launch
Sponsored by Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership
Family friendly canoe paddle through the Wildlife Refuge. Participants paddle 14-passenger, 29 foot canoes to experience Lake River from a unique on-water perspective.



Visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge for free during Birdfest. Discover the birds, wildlife, trails and Cathlapotle House; learn about the culture and history of the Ridgefield area; and appreciate the beauty of the natural area just across the river from downtown Ridgefield.


6AM and 5PM: Sandhill Crane Tours @ Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Join expert staff to learn about cranes and wildlife, and to see and hear the magnificent flight of hundreds of sandhill cranes! Meet at the Visitors Contact Station on the River “S” Refuge Unit 15- minutes before the tour time. Pre-registration required at


8AM: Activities begin @ Carty Unit and Plankhouse on the Refuge
Family friendly birding walk, birding photography, geology walk, Cathlapotle Village Hike, water color classes and MORE! For a full schedule and pre-registration see


8AM: Activities begin @ River S and Kiwa Trail on the Refuge
Spotting scopes available all day on River S, Naturalist-Guided bird walks, bird language workshop and photography on the Kiwa Trail. For a full schedule and pre-registration, see



4PM: Chinookan Style Salmon Bake @ Cathlapotle Plankhouse
Join the Chinook Indian Nation and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for a blessing of the food, drumming and a taste of the traditionally balked salmon and seafood stew.



Sport your Birdfest & Bluegrass pride with a unique 20th Anniversary 2019 button – featuring the 2019 bird of the year: the Sandhill Crane. Buttons are available at Ridgefield First Saturday events, participating downtown merchants and during the event.

2019 Bird of the Year: Sandhill Crane

Very tall, long necked and thin legged – from afar they can be mistaken for Great Blue Herons, but upon closer inspection you can quickly notice their light grey coloring, rust colored streaks, and red eye patch. They are also known for their dancing, the elegance of their mating courtship has inspired people in cultures all over the world – including the great scientist, conservationist, and nature writer Aldo Leopold.

The Sandhill Crane’s call is a loud, rolling, trumpeting sound whose unique tone is a product of anatomy –long trachea’s (windpipes) – that coil into the sternum and help the sound develop a lower pitch and harmonics that add richness.

Sandhill Cranes do not hunt in open water or hunch their necks the way herons do. They forage for grains and invertebrates in prairies, grasslands and marshes.

Sandhill Cranes form extremely large flocks – into tens of thousands – on their wintering grounds and during migration. They often migrate very high in the sky, which is why we see them less than we see geese or other migrating species.