Othello Sandhill Crane Festival

Photo by Manjith Kainickara

Every spring, the Eastern Washington town of Othello gets ready for a special occasion: the arrival of roughly 25,000 migrating sandhill cranes. And their return is celebrated with the annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival, this year held March 23-25. The festival’s 2018 theme is “H20 & Birds on the Go,” an endeavor to highlight the reason that wildlife species, such as the sandhill crane, hang out there—the abundance of water in the forms of irrigation and natural wetlands.

“I’m excited about this theme, because without natural or irrigation water, many of the birds and wildlife would not be here,” says Kurt Braunwart, co-chair of the festival. “Just as clean water is important for people, it is also a key to healthy wildlife.”

This family-friendly festival not only celebrates the crane’s spring migration, but also other wildlife, as well as the landscape of the Columbia Basin. Besides viewing the cranes, exploring the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge and participating on geology and agriculture tours are highlights of the festival. Everything from kids’ activities to educational lectures make the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival a crowd pleaser.

The festival is a good way to introduce friends and family to the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, an important wildlife habitat to visit any time of year. To learn more about the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival, go to othellosandhillcranefestival.org.

Othello is located about one hour north of Tri-Cities; there is lodging in Othello, but during the festival, you may find more lodging choices available in Tri-Cities (visittri-cities.com).