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It was everything the original organizers intended it to be. Naturefest 2010 expanded from being a one day event with light attendance just four years prior to a two day festival with everything from a longhorn cattle drive to fishing, bird watching, nature walks and great shows.
Friday started with the 6 p.m. longhorn drive and that slid effortlessly into a chuck wagon dinner, a western reenactment, campfire songs and the Twice Upon a Time Storytellers.
As the sun slid below the western horizon East Texas Astronomers put their gear to good work much to the delight of the crowd.
Saturday was the big day with birding and hiking beginning at 8 a.m. A kid’s survival training seminar held by Ranger Joe Roach from the Tyler State Park was heavily attended and that show was followed by The Creature Teacher, Birding 101, a tree identification walk and nature hike.
Last Chance Forever put on a birds of prey show that captivated the audience, a nature photography program by East Texas Reflections’ Gary Edwards was well attended and there were other workshops about butterflies, turtles, and mussels of the Sabine River. There was even a kid’s fishing class, a Dutch-oven cooking demonstration and a very popular tent under which kids could build their own birdhouses using a little elbow grease and some pre-cut wood.
Among the best attended demonstrations of the day was that by Neal Stilley, a volunteer archeological steward from Chandler, Texas.
Families stood and sat around his demonstration, using tools from the 1800s, of how one could survive in the wilderness by starting fires without matches.
He used tinder dry yucca and… friction… and with a huff and a puff there was smoke and then flames.
More than 1,000 attended the late May event which meant it had grown in size each year since snow almost cancelled it. That snow led to the festival being moved to a warmer month of the year… it was 95 degrees on Saturday in 2010.