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By Joe Benedict
Daily Gate City
In late September, the Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau held its annual Geode Fest in the parking lot of the First Christian Church. There was a great turnout for the event, so that got the organization to thinking about Bald Eagle Appreciation Days.
Soon, the church officials had agreed that the 38th Annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days could be held at their facility at 3476 Main St. Naturally, it won’t be in the parking lot, as the day the event will be there is Saturday, Jan. 15.
This year’s event is two days, but only one will be at the First Christian Church in Keokuk, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The second day will be held at the Montrose Riverfront Landing in Montrose on Sunday, Jan. 16.
“It will give people a chance to go up the river and maybe get a little different perspective of the birds,” Kirk Brandenberger, executive director of the Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau said.
Brandenberger said the church is a brighter, climate controlled venue for the first day of the event. He said there is going to be plenty of room to have all the usual activities the event had at the River City Mall for the previous three decades.
The First Christian Church is a lot farther from the Keokuk riverfront than the mall, so Brandenberger said they are considering running two shuttle buses from the church to the river for eagle viewing.
Some old favorites will be back for Saturday’s portion of the event.
Look for the World Bird Sanctuary to bring some raptors, including a bald eagle to the event. Brandenberger said this year, they are going to bring more than birds.
Their show is called “Creatures of Myth and Legends,” and will feature not only the birds, but some reptiles, including a boa constrictor, Brandenberger said. The show will be set up in a separate room from the main area and will have show times of 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The Iowa State University Insect Zoo will be back once again for its popular display. People have the chance to get close up to a variety of insects and usually large spiders as well.
Bald Eagle Appreciation Days has some educational seminars each year as well. This year, there will be three.
The first one will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday and is called “Wind & Wildlife: An Overview of the Interactions of Wildlife with Wind Turbines.” Turbines are helpful to us, decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels, but what impact to they have on animals? Stop by this seminar to find out.
At 1 p.m., learn about “Freshwater Mussels: Livers of the Rivers.” The name gives a bit of a clue about how mussels do a lot of filtering of river water.
And at 2 p.m. the seminar “Getting the Most Out of Your Woodworking Machinery & Materials.” Are you getting everything you can out of your woodworking equipment? Find out at this event.
Other activities at the Keokuk site will include Native American drum, dancing and artifacts, children’s activities with Nauvoo on the Road, as well as food and vendors selling some beautiful items.
The Lee County Conservation has always been a major part of Eagle Days as well. They will again be bringing their eagle nest display to Keokuk and other displays and will be taking some of the items to the Montrose portion as well.
On Sunday, when people head up to Montrose for the event’s second day, they will see outdoor viewing of the eagles, but there will also be scopes indoors through windows. Sunday events are set to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There will be a brunch available all day at the event, Monk Creek Woodworks will be present and the Hunold Heritage Center will be open with a 1 p.m. button cutting demonstration.
There are a few additional activities tying into Bald Eagle Appreciation Days. At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14 at Dr. Getwell’s 1100 Main in Keokuk, Kirk, Dave & Warren Trio will have a mini concert. Admission is free and the event is sponsored by the Cultural & Entertainment District.