By all accounts, the first Eagle Festival at Reelfoot Lake was a huge success and will likely become an annual winter event here.
The festival was held on Jan 14, 15 and 16 and was sponsored by the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council with help from Reelfoot Lake State Park and Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge.
Despite cold, windy weather all the eagle tours from the AirPark Inn were filled and the state park estimated that about 1,000 persons took part in the various eagle festival related events.
Several resorts filled rooms as the result of the festival and Reelfoot restaurants were busy Saturday night.
"Everyone we talked to was well pleased with the event," said Vanessa Henson, coordinator for the Tourism Council.
"Some people asked if events like this took place every weekend during eagle watching season."
Henson replied that the event was sponsored by the Reelfoot Tourism Council and plans are to make it an annual event.
Eagle watchers here for the festival were excited about the tote bags filled with Reelfoot-related goodies.
The scavenger hunt was a success and those who participated in it said it was a particularly good idea because they did not know half of the businesses involved existed and they would be sure to visit them their next trip to Reelfoot.
Scavenger hunt winner Kayce Tolley won $50 cash from the Tourism Council, an eagle print from Albert Markham and a eagle shirt from Hillbilly Junction. She visited 28 businesses on Reelfoot Lake.
Reelfoot State Park ranger David Haggard estimated the attendance for the Birds of Prey program was the second highest ever.
Christine Donald of the Reelfoot NWR staff said all of their eagle tours were booked and estimated that eagle tour visitors tripled over the same weekend last year.
Among vendors at the festival were Albert Markham, Hillbilly Junction, Campbell’s Frame Shop, Grizzly Jig Company, Vicky Brown’s Heritage T-Shirts and Karon Griffin Artwork.
Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council would like to thank the resorts and businesses for participating in the event and donating to the goody bags.
Among those they would like to thank are: Acorn Point Lodge, Bill Nation’s Camp, Blue Basin Cove, Bluebank Marina and Restaurant, Bluebank Motel and Restaurant, Bo’s Landing, Boyette’s Resort, Cypress Point Resort, Eagle Nest Resort, Eagle Nest Marine, Gray’s Camp, Hamilton’s Resort, Miss Pauline’s Bed and Breakfast, Reelfoot Lake Inn, Reelfoot Lake State Park and AirPark Inn, Southshore Resort, Sportsman’s Resort North and South, White’s Landing, Christmas Shoppe in Tiptonville, Tiptonville HealtMart, Eagle Tree Gallery, Lakeview Dining Room, Ervin’s Marketplace, Casino Aztar, Hillbilly Junction, Dyersburg Regional Medical Center, Forrester/White/Mathis Insurance, Office Services, TWRA, Farm Bureau in Tiptonville and Dyersburg, Obion County Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Realty, Jack Morris Auto, Baptist Memorial Health Care in UC, Jerry Sullivan, Baptist Cancer Institute in UC, Obion County Public Library, Reelfoot Bank in UC and Hornbeak, Pier Restaurant, Boyette’s Dining Room, Pizza-To-Go, Wayside Florist and the volunteers and staff of the USFWS.
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