The local Eagle Festival will bring birds of prey and nature activities to downtown Arlington again this year with events on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

Families can learn about local nature organizations, see eagles and other birds up close and observe chainsaw carvers as they work on their sculptures near Legion Park.

On Feb. 1, the Sarvey Wildlife Center returns to the City Council Chambers at 110 E 3rd St., Arlington with a number of different birds of prey.

Rescue birds that are unable to return to nature will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“New this year is that we are featuring our environmental groups at the Haller Middle School gym,” said Sarah Lopez, community revitalization project manager with the city.

About 20 different groups plan to be there on Feb. 1. Normally these groups are at the City Council chambers, however Lopez said they wanted to expand their nature education this year.

Lopez said she was contacted by the a staff member of the Stillaguamish Tribe and that “they wanted to grow the environmental piece of the festival.”

There wasn’t much room left in the City Council chambers to bring in more groups so they moved to nearby Haller Middle School.

The blowup obstacle course will be there in addition to nature-related activities.

“It’s good for the kids to learn about nature while they’re young as well and be exposed to these groups,” said Lopez.

The Arlington High School drama club will also give a preview of their upcoming musical, “Once Upon a Mattress,” at Haller Middle School by performing a couple of the songs.

The Stillaguamish Tribe is also sponsoring the chainsaw carvers that will be putting on shows at the Legion Park parking lot Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are also two nature walks led by local experts.

“We will have a guided nature walk up near Darrington to look for spawning chum salmon,” said Lopez.

That walk begins at 1 p.m. at Squire Creek County Park, which is located at 41415 SR 530

From 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. a member of the Pilchuck Audubon Society will give a bird identification walk that begins at Haller Park.

The Arlington Arts Council takes submissions of photos, art and haikus) about nature for the festival and will be displaying them during the festival.

“It’s a way for the community to be involved and to share their poems and art with Arlington,” said Lopez.

The Eagle Festival began as a way to bring people to the downtown.

“We got this started back when we were reconstructing Olympic Avenue,” said Lopez, because there was a lot of construction disrupting business.

“We were trying to stimulate more activity to the area and we wanted an event focused on nature as well,” she said.

The first year was very successful and community organizations came together to make it happen each year.

“It’s a good time of the year to put something on because there’s not a lot happening downtown,” said Lopez. “And it’s good to have something that focuses on nature,”

A complete schedule for the Eagle Festival is available at http://arlingtonwa.gov/169/Festival-Events.

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