Brant Festival judged a success
by Joe Meche
This year’s Washington Brant Festival was a noticeable improvement over last year’s inaugural event. We - the Washington Brant Foundation (WBF) - will not rest on our laurels, however, as we begin to assess the festival and look to ways that we can work together with the community to make next year’s festival better than ever.
The attendance at the Saturday evening banquet was 160, as opposed to last year’s 120; the action was spirited both in the silent and live auction/raffle at dinner time; and this year’s auctioneer, Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic, was certainly in his element. In addition, the five viewing stations, staffed by members of the North Cascades Audubon Society, were visited by more than 200 bird watchers on Saturday.
Maynard Axelson, president of the WBF, extends his thanks to all of the people who contributed so much effort to this year’s festival. “At this point,” said Axelson, “the main thing we want to do is to keep the festival going. We want to move on to the next level and that includes more participation in the planning phase by the local community.
We’re very excited that more people are becoming aware of Brant and the need to protect their essential habitat for future generations.”
We took numerous notes and solicited responses from people on a variety of topics ranging from the overall look of the festival to how we might promote the festival in the future. Some have even suggested that we consider holding the festival a little earlier in the year, especially since the overall numbers of birds seem to peak closer to the end of March, as opposed to mid-April. Other thoughts include utilizing the facilities at the high school in Blaine and having more events and activities in and around Marine Park, as well as in Birch Bay.
If you have suggestions or thoughts about this year’s festival or the festival’s future, contact me by phone at 360/738-0641 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome feedback and input from everyone who wants to see the Washington Brant Festival become a part of the birdwatching tradition in Washington state. For additional information about the foundation, visit our website at www.washingtonbrant.org.