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Fall Festival is Saturday at Tamarac Refuge

TAMARAC Fall Festival ACTIVITIES will include Winter Preparation Challenge stations on the hiking trail, where chilldren can learn how wildlife prepare for winter;1 / 2
Tamarac volunteer Linda Brockmann quizzes these young fall hikers about wildlife adaptations. Tamarac biologists will lead guided bus tours at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.2 / 2

Looking for an outdoor weekend adventure to keep the whole family entertained?

Then why not take a ride out to Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and enjoy the beauty of autumn in Minnesota?

"On the right day, a drive through Tamarac Refuge is like a stroll through a golden cathedral," says Kelly Blackledge, Tamarac park ranger.  

The Refuge is getting ready to host its annual Fall Festival next Saturday, Oct. 2. The theme is "Celebrate Tamarac's Bounty," with a variety of activities being planned to do just that.

"This year we're really focusing on the abundance of food that the Refuge provides, for wildlife as well as people," Blackledge said.

Learn all about Minnesota's wild rice -- what the Ojibwe call "manoo`min" -- by observing where it grows and how it is processed, through authentic native demonstrations.

Hike the Refuge's nature trail and expand your nature knowledge by taking the Winter Preparation Challenge, to discover how Minnesota wildlife prepares for winter.

"We'll have children's activities that will demonstrate how much food they (wildlife) have to consume, to get ready for a long flight south, or for hibernation," Blackledge said.

For instance -- how many pizzas would it take for you to be ready to fly south for the winter?

"We'll also have samples of wild edibles," Blackledge added.

Participants will receive a prize after completing the challenges.

There will be guided bus tours of the Refuge at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

"We encourage people to bring their cameras," Blackledge said. "We'll be visiting some scenic areas on the Refuge, and focusing on habitat management for our wildlife."

All activities are free and food, snacks and beverages will be available for purchase. As a special treat, Tamarac Interpretive Association President Ron Jenson will be serving his "mouthwatering" pork loin sandwiches -- a festival favorite -- for lunch.

Before you leave, be sure to check out the Nature & Wildlife Silent Auction and the display of entries from the annual Tamarac Photo Contest.

"People can vote for their favorites," Blackledge said.

The Refuge bookstore will also be offering some end-of-season specials, so be sure to check it out and see what you can find to fill out your Christmas lists.

The proceeds from the lunch, silent auction and bookstore sales "will help fund the transportation costs for school field trips to Tamarac," Blackledge said.

Festival activities start at the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge maintenance shop, just a few hundred feet east of the visitor center located at the junction of Highways 29 and 26.

For more information, call the visitor center at 218-847-2641 or visit

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454