Continuing a yearly tradition, the Audubon Center and Sanctuary will once again be hosting its Snowflake Festival on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Providing an opportunity for families to escape the house during the winter and enjoy the beauty of nature, the Snowflake Festival fills the grounds of the Audubon with animals, sleigh rides, craft exhibits and much more.
Visitors to the center for the event are welcome to bring their own cross country skis, snowshoes and sleds to use to enjoy the winter wonderland throughout the day, event organizers say. In addition, snowshoes and skis will be available to borrow by anyone who would like a pair to traverse the center's system of trails.
Don a pair of snowshoes and enjoy the winter wonderland as part of this year’s Talking Phone Book Snowflake Festival on Saturday, Feb. 5. Snowshoes and skis will be available to borrow by anyone who would like a pair to traverse the center’s system of trails.
''It doesn't matter if you've never skied before,'' said Dee Marlinski, the Audubon's special events manager. ''We will have people demonstrate how to put them on and help people put them on, and also show them how to get going.''
Inside the Audubon Center's main building, exhibits will include a photography exhibit by the Audubon Photography Club, children's crafts, bluebird-house building, a Chinese auction, face painting, and demonstrations of tapestry weaving and yarn spinning, weaving and dying.
Admission for the fun-filled day at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary will be $5 for adults, with children 12 and under admitted free. Prior to the event, $5 booklets of ''Snowflake Dollars'' are available for purchase, which can be used for admission, food, sleigh rides, the Chinese auction and other transactions. Each booklet purchased also includes a chance to win a handmade quilt by Martha Danielson and a free week of summer day camp. Snowflake Dollars will not be available at the festival itself.
This will be the second consecutive year the festival will be held on a Saturday. In past years, it was held on Super Bowl Sunday, but it was moved one day ahead last year to avoid conflicts people make in accordance with the annual sporting event.
The opportunity to experience the Audubon in the winter gives people a chance to see nature in a whole new way, Ms. Marlinski said.
''It's quite magnificent when you're out there and you see a cardinal perched in a tree or a deer running through the woods,'' she said. ''It's really a nice view and something really enjoyable, especially for kids.''
AND SLEIGH RIDES
The featured speaker during the 2011 Audubon Center and Sanctuary Snowflake Festival will be Paul Fehringer from Wild Spirit Education, who will conduct two programs during the event.
Fehringer, a naturalist and licensed wildlife rehabilitator, will once again be bringing birds to the center for his presentations. In addition to live hawks, this year he will also be bringing owls to the festival. His show and talk about birds of prey will take place at 11:30 a.m., and the owl ecology program will follow at 1 p.m.
The owl ecology program is an exciting new twist to Fehringer's participation in the Snowflake Festival, Ms. Marlinski said.
''He does such a fabulous job for us,'' she said. ''The owl ecology program is going to be something really different, and I think that's going to be a nice feature for his presentation.''
A meet-and-greet with Fehringer and his birds will take place for about 30 minutes following each program, during which time visitors will be able to take photographs, ask questions and get up-close and personal with the beautiful creatures.
Other featured presenters during the festival will include Jennifer Schlick, the Audubon's program director, who will have a Green Home Chautauqua exhibit. Audubon teacher and naturalist Sarah Hatfield will also be a presenter during the festival, hosting an animal table.
Kids on the Fly, a non-profit making custom-tied fishing flies, will also be at the festival teaching demonstrations. The Master Gardeners from both Chautauqua and Warren counties will also have informational booths set up during the event.
Vendors with booths inside during the event will include Herbs R4U, Fairbank Farms, Busti Cider Mill, Southern Tier Astronomy Club, the Audubon Photography Club, Western New York Energy Smart Communities, Braymiller Builders and Evergreen Outfitters.
Outdoors during the event, highlights will include Andrea DiMaio's Tails of Tundra Siberian huskies giving scooter and kicksled demonstrations, and the ever-popular horse-drawn sleigh rides by Dennis Wright. Cost of sleigh rides will be $5 for people 12 and older, and $2 for younger children using seating.
''It's a nice ride,'' Ms. Marlinski said. ''He explores the Audubon itself, around the building.''
Fluvanna Boy Scout Troop 169 will be on-hand to give demonstrations in how to do winter camping and cooking, and visitors will be able to pet live alpacas courtesy of Dun Roving Farms. The Audubon's resident bald eagle, Liberty, will also be available to be visited by festival attendees, who can also learn about how the center's staff cares for the injured bird.
A FULL DAY
The Talking Phone Book is the main sponsor of the 2011 Snowflake Festival, with other sponsors including Herbs R4U, Hope's Windows, Western New York Energy Smart Communities, Lena's Pizza, James M. Smith CLU, Gary's CARSTAR, and The Healing Vessel/Massage Therapist Cynthia Simonsen.
Ms. Marlinski also noted that a dedicated group of Audubon volunteers has been involved in planning the large number of activities that will be taking place during the festival. Chairing the committees are Ann Anderson and Margaret Lane, kitchen/food; Pat Brininger, publicity; Dave and Barb Lange and Catherine Price, general assistance; Becky and Ed Thomas, Chinese auction; and Joyce Weber and Olivia Sechriest, children's crafts. Ms. Hatfield is serving as education staff liaison.
In addition to other live animal displays mentioned above, Chris Duckett will have a reptile exhibit, Sue Bobek will be on-hand from the Chautauqua County Humane Society, Sue Caffaro from New Leash on Life will have a display, and the New Hope Assistance Program will also be at the festival.
Food that will be available for purchase will include chili, hot dogs, sausages with peppers and onions, brownies, kettle corn, hot chocolate and Stedman Corners coffee.
There is no ATM on the Audubon property, so attendees should plan accordingly.
The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is located at 1600 Riverside Road, off Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. For more details and information, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.