Organizers geared up for annual Carlsbad Bat Fest, breakfast

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Organizers geared up for annual Carlsbad Bat Fest, breakfast

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 26, 2006 5:59 am

Organizers geared up for annual Bat Fest, breakfast
By Heather Parker
Current-Argus Staff Writer

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park and Bat Fest are joining together for the Celebration of the Night 2006 and the 8th Annual Bat Fest.

Following tradition of years past, the festivities will begin at Carlsbad Caverns and move back to Carlsbad at the band shell.

Festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. and kick off with a star party Friday evening at the Caverns. At about 8 p.m., spectators can see the famous bats swirl out of the cave. Shortly after the bats leave the cave, youngsters will have an opportunity to take a "Walk Through The Solar System" with Kathryn Jones of New Mexico State Parks. Space will be limited and sign-ups for the "Walk Through The Solar System" will begin at the bat flight program.

At 9:30 p.m., Alan Hale, co-discoverer of comet Hale-Bopp, will give a presentation. Night sky viewing will begin after the presentation at around 10:30 p.m.

Larry Smith, of Three Rivers Foundation for the Arts and Science, is scheduled to give a "Tour of the Night Sky" at 11 p.m. Amateur astronomers are welcome to bring telescopes. However, they are encouraged to contact Shannan Marcak at the park in advance.

Viewing of the night sky will go until the wee hours of the morning and end around 3 a.m. At that time, a ranger-led desert night hike will take place — space is limited.

The 49th Annual Bat Flight and Breakfast will begin at 5 a.m. According to information provided by Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Bat Flight Breakfast was started in the late 1950s as a way to encourage visitors to watch the morning return of the bats to the cave. Adult breakfast tickets are $7 and those for children 12 and younger are $3 each.

Then the main event will take place as an estimated 400,000 Mexican free-tailed bats are expected to re-enter the cave between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

The activities will continue with a ranger-led lantern tour of the natural entrance and a climbing demonstration at the caves entrance slated for 6:30-8 a.m.

At 8 a.m., the visitors center and Carlsbad Caverns will be open to all visitors.

Visitors can then join in with the Bat Fest in town.

A parade will kick off the Bat Fest downtown at 10 a.m. Saturday. The parade marshal will be guest speaker, Alan Hale. Awards will be given out following the parade for the most bat-focused
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Wayne Harrison
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