Bald Eagle Appreciation Days Saturday, Sunday
KEOKUK — The 29th annual Bald Eagle Appreciation Days celebration is Saturday and Sunday in Keokuk.
The event honoring the nation’s symbol of freedom takes place along the Mississippi River and on Main Street at the River City Mall and Baymont Inn.
Kirk Brandenberger, executive director of the Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau.
Entertainment, live raptor shows, learning opportunities, food, artisans, eagle viewing with high-powered scopes, and the expertise of multiple agencies and organizations provide residents and visitors with an experience they’ll want to repeat.
Viewing bald eagles in their natural habitat with assistance by experts will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday along the river and at Victory Park and Southside Boat Club.
From 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, breakfast will be served at the Southside Boat Club. The dining area allows a three-direction view of eagles and the river area.
Indoor activities are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the mall.
New to the event this year is a dedicated taxidermy area where the skill and craftsmanship of taxidermists in the Tri-State Area will be on display.
The Mississippi Power 100 Committee will have a photo display showing the construction of the Mississippi River dam and power house 100 years ago and previewing the centennial celebration of their completion this summer.
Five special numbered 100th anniversary medallions will be auctioned at 1 p.m. at the mall.
Iowa, Illinois and Missouri agencies will showcase their efforts to protect, preserve and maintain natural habitat, while the Native American Cultural Circle Stage at the Dollar General end of the mall will have song, dance and storytelling with the Night Eagle Singers.
Children pioneer activities will be held Saturday only by Nauvoo on the Road.
Raptor awareness programs conducted by the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis at the River City Mall Plaza Cinema will feature close-up viewing of the American bald eagle, a barn owl that likely will fly overhead, a golden eagle, a turkey vulture and a white-naped raven. The raptor programs are at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday’s raptor program will show at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Saturday’s special seminars include:
11 a.m. – “White Nose Syndrome: A Deadly Pathogen Among Bats,” presented by Dr. Andrea Porforas-Alfaro of Western Illinois University.
1 p.m. – “A Chronic Concern: Chronic Wasting Disease Among Whitetail Deer,” presented by Christopher Jacques of WIU.
2 p.m. – “Biological Invasion of Asian Carp in the Mississippi River System,” presented by Jim Lorner, manager of the Kibbe Field Station, WIU.
3 p.m. – “Overview of the Condition and Health of Iowa’s Woodlands,” presented by Paul Tauke, Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“The seminars are timely and interesting,” Brandenberger said. “The woodlands seminar will explain how Iowa’s oak and hickory forest is becoming more maple-based. There are changes going on in the forest. One hundred years ago, you could ride through the forest. Now there’s a lot of brush.”
The Asian carp seminar also is relevant, not only for the takeover of the Mississippi River by the species, but also because “they’re beginning to harvest them,” Brandenberger said. “They’re sending them to California and Asia. Grafton, Ill., is building a processing plant. Chinese folks are setting it up.”
Vendors, including flintknappers, will be located throughout the mall as well as booths selling photos, Native American jewelry, food and more.
While activities continue at the riverfront and mall, the Tri-State Woodcarvers Show will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Baymont Inn lounge area, 329 Main St. The Woodcarvers display items created by artisans from Illinoi, Iowa and Missouri. Every year, visitors are interested in the skill of area carvers and the items on display and for sale.
The Keokuk Cultural and Entertainment District presents singer/songwriter Dave Moore of Iowa City from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Baymont Inn. A cash bar will be available. Free will donations may be made.
Moore sings and plays blues guitar, button accordion and harmonica. He has backed other performers and became closely associated with Garrison Keilor’s Prairie Home Companion, leading the band during its Alaska and Hawaii tours.