By Molly Moser
“A raptor has an intensely wild and free spirit,” say officials at the MacBride Raptor Project in Cedar Rapids. “To come to the aid of one of these birds is to give expression to a similar spirit within us.” The wild and free birds of prey in Iowa will be celebrated during GD&T’s Eagle Watch and Cabin Fever Weekend.
This year’s educational programs and entertainment will be located at the Marina Visitor Center, 715 S. River Park Drive. “The Marina Center offers a spectacular view of the river and trees across the channel for viewing eagles, and the audience can keep warm inside rather than facing the cold,” said GD&T director Emily Moser.
To help residents and visitors escape cabin fever, the event kicks off with an ice carving demonstration by Chain Reactions Carvings out of Cedar Rapids from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Carvers will transform two ice blocks into river creatures, and Moser expects the demonstration will take place in the lower parking lot of the Marina Center and recommends bringing lawn chairs to sit and enjoy the two-hour demonstration.
At 12:00 noon the scent of fresh, hot chili will begin wafting through the city streets as a chili cookoff begins in the Marina Center. The public is encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to taste-test each entry and cast a vote for their favorite. A $5 charge to participate in the tasting will be used to award first prize to the winning pot of chili. Hot chocolate and apple cider, as well as homemade baked goods, will complement the chili and are available for a free will donation.