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Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival set for this weekend

From the Chattanoogan: Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival returns for its 32nd year this weekend in Birchwood.


At least 20,000 sandhill cranes are estimated to migrate through or spend the winter near the Hiwassee Refuge, a 6,000-acre site managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.


It will be open 8am – 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday, with spotting scopes set up for close-up views of the sandhill cranes, rarer whooping cranes, other waterfowl, and bald eagles.


Visitors must park at the Birchwood Community Center, 5623 Highway 60, and ride the free shuttles to the refuge and the nearby Cherokee Removal Memorial, where American Indian folklore specialists will have artifacts on view.


At the community center, visitors can enjoy free shows by the American Eagle Foundation (12:30pm and 1:30pm on Saturday, 11am and 12pm on Sunday) and musical guests ‘2nd Nature’ (11:30am on Saturday) and ‘Mount LeConte Jug Band’ (10am on Sunday). Learn more: tn.gov/twra/news