Local Q Writer

For the last 10 years, Holly Cain, the executive director of the Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, has worked out of an office at the Villa Kathrine, which overlooks the Mississippi River.

Cain says she has never seen more bald eagles than she has this year.

“This is the largest concentration of bald eagles I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s due to the cold weather or the bad things we have experienced, but they are just here and hunting throughout the day.”

The large number of bald eagles will be appreciated this weekend at the Great River Eagle Days. The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Oakley-Lindsay Center. Admission costs $5 for those who are 12 and older and $3 for adults over 60 years old.

The weekend’s events will honor Native American traditions with sacred ceremonies and various forms of entertainment. For example, the Omeyocan Dancers, an Aztec dance company out of Wisconsin, will perform both days of the ceremony. Bald eagles from the Raptor Rehabilitation Center will be present all weekend. The traditional blessing of the eagle ceremony will be held 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Vendors and food booths will have Native American wares available throughout the event.

Since the Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is a main sponsor of the event, Cain has helped the Standing Bear Council put on the Great Eagle River Days for the last six years.

“We have been one of their main sponsors from the get go,” she said. “The Standing Bear Council came to us, and we jumped all over a winter event. We’ve done some fabulous weekend tours with bald eagle packages, but this was a little bit more substantial, and their Winter Gathering provided the exposure, entertainment, the vendors for a great Eagle Days. We’ve always been on board with this.”

One of the main reasons the Great River Eagle Days is a hit every year, Cain says, is the educational component of the event.

“It’s always changing, the different types, whether they have geode cracking, or I know they have a gentleman on feather teaching,” she said. “They have different educational experiences each year.”

In addition to presenting on feather teaching, Luca Majno will also present programs called Two Wolves, Tecumseh and Brother, and the Matriarch.

“I really think (Great River Eagle Days) appeals to a wide variety of audiences, whether people have Native American ties or they want to learn more history and the Native American culture. Then there also people who are fascinated with just the birds themselves,” Cain said.

Microtel Inn & Suites will offer a special event rate this weekend, with rooms costing $60 per night. To check availability, call the hotel at 217-222-5620.
In addition to the Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Arts Council help the Standing Bear Council make the event possible.

Although the events are not affiliated, Cain points out that the Quincy Illinois Native American Artifact Show will also to be held this weekend. The show, which complements the Great River Eagle Days and is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Hunter’s and Fishermen’s Association and the Illinois State Archeological Society, will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Eagles Club. More than 65 vendors will be set up to buy, sell, trade and display artifacts.