For the first time since 2016, the Swan Festival this weekend will offer a number of field trips and presentations showcasing Yuba-Sutter’s natural resources.
The festival is being presented by the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce, Visit Yuba-Sutter and California Rice, according to Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marni Sanders.
Sanders said reorganization at the chamber and hearing from people about how much they missed the event were the main reasons for the festival returning this year. The festival was canceled in 2017 when the chamber was having some managerial and budgetary challenges.
“We essentially are bringing back the same tours that we had offered in 2016,” Sanders said.
Tours start Friday afternoon and continue on Saturday and Sunday. All tours and hikes leave from “Swan Central,” located at Feather River Academy at 1895 Lassen Boulevard, Yuba City. Check-in on Friday starts at 2 p.m., according to Sanders. She said the tours on Friday are almost completely full, but there are plenty of spots open for tours and hikes on Saturday and Sunday. People can register online at the chamber of commerce website, which includes the difficulty level of each tour or hike on a scale from 1 to 5 in terms of how taxing it is expected to be, Sanders said.
Swan Central will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with different animal presentations and activities mostly geared toward kids. Most of the presentation at Swan Central are free to attend and if people arrive at the right time, Sanders said, they can sign up on the spot for tours or hikes that are about to leave.
“We’ve got some fun stuff happening,” Sanders said.
West Coast Falconry is bringing three falcons, three owls and a vulture for a presentation Saturday at 1 p.m., according to Kate Marden.
She said their presentation will include a demonstration of the falcons and owls flying from glove to glove around the room and talk about the role falconers play in the conservation of birds of prey and other endangered birds.
“One of my drives is to let people know the relationship falconers have with their birds,” Marden said.
One of the falcons on display Saturday will be a Peregrine falcon which is native to the Yuba-Sutter region. The falconry presentation costs $15 for adults and $10 for youth.
Visit Yuba-Sutter tourism coordinator Cindy Paine said the hope for this year is that the festival draws many visitors from outside Yuba-Sutter. She said the event is part of a rebranding effort on the part of Visit Yuba-Sutter that wants the region to be known as a destination.
“We’re just trying to showcase our area,” Paine said.
In addition to drawing outside visitors, Paine said it’s just as important if not more so to have Yuba-Sutter residents attend the festival and appreciate the natural resources the area has to offer.
“We want our local people to realize what a nice place it is,” Paine said.
The goal is for local residents to invite friends of theirs from other areas to visit who will invite their friends creating what Paine described as a “trickle down” that will lead to more tourism in Yuba-Sutter.
There will be a reception Friday at 6 p.m. at the Yuba-Sutter Arts Council celebrating the return of the event. Entry to the reception is free, but Sanders asked those who plan on attending to call the chamber ahead of time so organizers can plan accordingly.