By Charlene Corson Selbee
Prepare to have a hoot at the International Festival of Owls, March 3-5.
The event originally started at a “hatch-day” party for Alice the Great Horned Owl in 2003. The celebration has grown from 300 attendees to over 2,000 visitors from all over the United States, Canada, Jamaica, England, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Nepal, Taiwan, Japan, Kenya, and South Africa.
“Expect to be immersed in owls,” explained Karla Bloem, International Owl Center executive director.
The entire town of Houston, Minn., is actively involved in the celebration. The Cross of Christ Lutheran Church will once again host the favorite owl-face pancake breakfast. Barista’s Coffee House specialty is owl-themed drinks, and SubZero Pizza & Ice Cream will feature owl shaped pizzas on Friday night.
Looking for owl-themed gifts? Visit the vendor show at Houston High School, 306 W. Elm, and the International Owl Center’s Gift Shop, located in the Owl Center, 126 E. Cedar, for a wide selection of owl-themed gifts.
Check out the self-guided Parade of Owls art tour. eleven public owl sculptures are located throughout the town. Watch for the street banners featuring kids’ owl art from around the world. Note that three of the banners feature artwork from Ukraine. Over 2,007 entries from 34 countries and 20 U.S. states were submitted this year.
Roar Solheim from Norway is the 2023 World Owl Hall of Fame keynote speaker on Saturday night. The presentation will focus on Solheim’s encounters with owls and owl people in North America. Owl-themed refreshments will be provided by the town’s Forget-Me-Not Garden club.
Other activities include live owl programs, owl crafts, medallion hunt, kids’ owl art contest, kids’ owl calling contest, birding and natural history bus trip, owl nest box building, owl pellet dissection, and owl prowls.
Some events require registration. The schedule and registration information are available online at festivalofowls.com.
Bloem emphasized, “Sunday programs are much less crowded than Saturday.”
The three-day celebration is the center’s largest event of the year and is a fundraiser for the center.
Upcoming Bluff County events:
• March 2-5, Oneota Film Festival, Decorah
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For information on upcoming town festivals and events in Historic Bluff Country, vacation ideas for lodging, recreation, dining, and shopping.