CraneFest, sponsored by Michigan Audubon in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Battle Creek, focuses to raise awareness and appreciation of our natural heritage and to support the ongoing educational and conservation efforts of Michigan Audubon and its Bernard W. Baker Bird Sanctuary. The festival is held at the Kiwanis Youth Area in Bellevue, overlooking Big Marsh Lake.
Events at this family-friendly festival run from noon to dusk and feature artists, vendors, food, and a variety of environmental and conservation-related information and educational activities. The main attraction, the “fly-in” of hundreds of Sandhill Cranes, typically begins slowly throughout the afternoon with the best viewing of cranes between 5 p.m. and dusk. The festival is free, but there is a minimal parking fee.
Interested in volunteering for this event? A variety of volunteer opportunities are available. Please click below to tell us about your availability and interests. We’ll provide guidance and training to any interested volunteers.
Concerns about EEE
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in many Michigan counties, including Calhoun. At this time, Michigan Audubon plans to continue with CraneFest as scheduled, while continuing to monitor the situation. We encourage all attendees to take steps to reduce potential exposure by using insect repellant and wearing long sleeves and pants. More information about EEE in Michigan can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/0,4579,7-186-76711_77442—,00.html.
- Golf carts will be available to assist people with mobility issues to get from one place to another on festival grounds.
- The terrain is grass/dirt and slightly hilly. Rain leading up to or during the event may cause additional difficulties for those navigating the festival with strollers, canes, walkers, and manual or motorized wheelchairs.
- Chairs and benches are not widely available and guests of the festival should bring their own.
- The Kiwanis property is not equipped with outdoor lights and it can become difficult to see for people making their way back to their vehicles at dusk.
- For those with sensory or hearing issues, the noise level can become loud as the number of cranes increases as the day goes on.