Festival Wrap!

Now that the dust has settled on the 2014 Whooping crane festival we have a lot of incredible people to thank. First and foremost, the Princeton Chamber of Commerce and Mark Judas, Beth Pelland and Vickie Weilgosh. Your unwavering support and go the extra mile attitude is not easily found. You shared your office space, took many phone calls, setup signage for the flyover before sunrise each day and helped wherever you could before we even had a chance to ask.

Next is the Green Lake Country visitors Bureau and Linda Ruggeri, who first approached us at the 2013 festival in Berlin, WI. You’re a visionary who makes things happen and you succeeded in pulling together 3 communities and hundreds of visitors from outside Green Lake County for a common cause. Thank you.

Princeton School District – ‘Thank you’ somehow seems inadequate. You opened your doors to host Saturday’s festival and our hearts soared when we walked in very early Saturday morning to a huge welcome sign and dozens of origami cranes hanging from the ceiling. What a thrill! Gary and Troy were most helpful, before, during and after and the students you lined up to volunteer to help out that day were amazing. Joni DeRuyter’s food service class students worked the pancake breakfast like pro’s despite the fact that they had only returned to school just 4 weeks earlier. Many thanks to Joel Gerth for setting up and overlooking the breakfast at the school!

PrincetonSchoolThe speaker sessions were very well attended because we had the support of some incredible presenters. Many thanks to Pat Fisher and her amazing feathered friends, Beverly Paulan, Tom Schultz, Joe Duff and George Archibald. Often, as I’m introducing the speakers I have an opportunity to look out at the audience. I can usually recognize about 80% of the people in attendance. This year I’m thrilled to admit that the percentage of folks I recognized was significantly less – perhaps as low as 50%. We had larger audiences and many new folks! To top it off, we were able to live stream all of the presenters on our Ustream channel for the entire day so those that couldn’t attend were even able to watch these sessions!

We need to sincerely thank our 2013 volunteer of the year, Christy Smith because without her tenacious, can-do spirit, there wouldn’t be a festival. In 2011, Christy decided to take up the cause and worked doggedly to pull everyone together to celebrate Whooping cranes in Green Lake County. Each year since then the festival has grown. For this past festival, Christy passed to baton to Bob and Mary Vethe and a finer choice could not have been made.

OM's Liz Condie presents the Volunteer of the year award to Christy Smith

OM’s Liz Condie presents the Volunteer of the year award to Christy Smith

The Vethe’s commitment to crane conservation and education would be difficult to match. For months they helped work out details, attended many meetings and drove hundreds of miles to give countless presentations to libraries, other festivals and classrooms. Bob and Mary are the glue that held the many working components of the 2014 festival together. Thank you.

Bob and Mary Vethe checking email and texts during the festival. These two never stopped.

Bob and Mary Vethe checking email and texts during the festival. These two never stopped.

To our supporters who answered our call for auction items – thank you. Together, more than $6000 was raised in the auctions and the online component still has another week to run!

Everyone included below played a huge roll in the festival – whether selling raffle tickets, checking out winning auction bidders quickly and efficiently, or helping to set-up and tear down tables and chairs. Volunteers staffed our merchandise booth, made nametags and dinner place cards, and they took photos at all of the festival events. They stuffed welcome bags, created really cool centerpieces for the dinner, no detail was overlooked and they all did it with huge smiles. Our sincerest thanks and gratitude goes out to: Laura Rowan, Jana Lood, Doug and Mako Pellerin, Lois Ballard, Nancy Kargel, Sherry Wynn, Deb Johnson, Liz Condie, Colleen Chase, Doug Aanes, Claire Timm, David Sakrison, Mary O’brien, Huw and Marje Lloyd, Lori Verhagen, Jenny Gibbs, Karen Willes, Charlotte Mullen, Bev Birks, Rich Smith and Jo-Anne Bellemer.

We hope the many business operators in the area noticed the extra revenue in the week leading up to the event and over the weekend. We had folks from twenty U.S. States and Canadian Provinces who attended our little festival. They came here for one reason – to celebrate Whooping cranes in Green Lake County and the surrounding area. This should illustrate that these amazing cranes have the power to draw together folks from all over and that has to be good for the local economy.This year’s Whooping Crane Festival was a huge success – thanks to all of you. We’re already planning and looking forward to the 2015 festival!


In Memory of Charlie Moyes 1947 – 2014

Share Button


  1. Sally Swanson September 18, 2014 3:05 pm

    I thank everyone and I wasn’t there and, oh how I wish that I could have been! Whoop Whoop to all craniacs!


  2. Chix Laces September 18, 2014 10:32 am

    Thank you to the tribute to our fallen craniac, Charlie Moyes. He made one last gallant effort to clelbrate with his craniac friends and was able to see his beloved birds fly one last time. RIP