Weekend festivals in Chattanooga area highlight sandhill cranes, outdoor adventure films

Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd / Festivalgoers observe the sandhill cranes from the observation area at the Hiwassee Refuge during the 29th annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.

Sandhill cranes, wildebeests and Lookout Mountain hang-gliders are among the draws for upcoming events around the area.

Two Saturday events are sold out: the Polar Plunge at Lula Lake Land Trust and comedian Nate Bargatze's Be Funny Tour stop at Memorial Auditorium.


-- Association for Visual Arts, 30 Frazier Ave., will host an opening reception 6-9 p.m. Wednesday to introduce works by a Chattanooga State Community College art instructor, notable alumni and current enrollees. "Generation Next: Teaching the Future -- An Exhibit of Professor Mike Holsomback and His Students (Past and Present)," will run through Feb. 17. avarts.org

-- Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View, will partner with Chattanooga drag queen Hormona Lisa and other performers for an art-inspired drag show 7-9 p.m. Thursday. Regular admission applies for the 18-and-older event ($20 for nonmember adults). A cash bar will be available. huntermuseum.org


-- Lookout Wild Film Festival returns for its 11th year this weekend at Walker Theatre, 399 McCallie Ave. More than 80 films celebrating outdoor adventure and conservation will be shown over four days, including stories of ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies, of slacklining between hot-air balloons and of one man's quest to plant 1,440 trees by hand in 24 hours. Films on local topics include the story of Walden's Ridge Park, hang-gliding on Lookout Mountain (one of two world premieres) and efforts to protect the Tennessee River Gorge. Lengths range from three minutes to 90 minutes. Screenings are scheduled 7-10:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 1-4 p.m. and 7-10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $25-$79. lookoutfilmfestival.org

-- Imax Theater, 201 Chestnut St., premieres a new giant-screen adventure, "Serengeti 3D: Journey to the Heart of Africa," on Friday. For months during the pandemic, a trio of filmmakers from Australia, Canada and Switzerland had the region largely to themselves during the "great migration," a 500-mile circumnavigation of the Serengeti by 2 million wildebeests. Cinematographer Michael Dalton-Smith will tell stories of the filmmakers' time there at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a visit to Chattanooga for a special screening of the film and a post-film presentation. The 45-minute film will play through May. Online tickets are $10. Chattanooga Zoo members will be admitted for $7 when they buy tickets at the box office. tnaqua.org/imax/serengeti-3d


-- Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave., will welcome the Mike Salter Quartet for the weekly Jazz in the Lounge session at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Cover is $5. barkinglegs.org

-- Songbirds, 35 Station St., will present Swell Sound Agency's Independent Artist Showcase, featuring alt-pop singer/songwriter Lo Monaco, Americana act Bennett Coleman and multigenre artist Ned Abernathy, at 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $30. songbirdsfoundation.org

-- St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, 630 Mississippi Ave., Signal Mountain, will host the East Tennessee State University Chorale in concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The chorale is the premier auditioned choral ensemble in the ETSU music department with a repertoire that ranges from music of the Renaissance to newly composed works to classical to pop. A freewill offering will be collected. sttimothysignal.org

-- Barrelhouse Ballroom, inside Five Wits Brewing, 1501 Long St., has two shows on the weekend calendar. Country artist Frank Foster is scheduled at 9 p.m. Friday, with support from War Hippies. Tickets are $22-$45. End of the Line will offer a tribute to the Allman Brothers, the originators of Southern rock, at 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15-$18. barrelhouseballroom.com

-- Gem Theatre, 114 N. Wall St., Calhoun, Ga., will host Interstellar Echoes in a tribute to English prog rock band Pink Floyd at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $34-$39. calhoungemtheatre.org

-- Chattanooga Symphony & Opera has three concerts coming up. A sensory-friendly concert by the CSO Wind Ensemble is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St. Admission is free, but seats should be reserved. A family concert of "Ferdinand the Bull" in which the arts group Playful Evolving Monsters will bring the story to life, starts at 3 p.m. Sunday at Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave., Signal Mountain. Admission is free. Arrive early for crafts and an instrument petting zoo. Tuesday features an open rehearsal for the Jan. 19 Masterworks concert, "Masterful Tchaikovsky," at 8 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave. Tickets are $10. chattanoogasymphony.org

-- Macdowell Music Club and Chattanooga Music Club will hold a joint meeting at 3 p.m. Sunday at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1505 N. Moore Road. Performances by members of both clubs will be followed by a reception. Admission is free.

-- String Theory, a series of chamber music concerts, continues at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with the Kenari Saxophone Quartet as guests at the Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View. In a news release, Gloria Chien, String Theory's founder and artistic director, describes the quartet as "an innovative, genre-bending ensemble that demolishes all preconceived notions about the saxophone." At 6 p.m., the artists will take the stage for Musical Dialogues, an informal interview about their music and careers. Tickets are $10-$45. stringtheorymusic.org


-- Asian Lantern Festival will end this weekend at Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N. Holtzclaw Ave. The seasonal light display features 38 custom fixtures showcasing the zoo's resident animals. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $16-$18 for members, $18-$21 for nonmembers. Tickets must be reserved online. chattzoo.org

-- The Comedy Catch, 29 Station St., will present an Open Mic Night for new talents at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday ($7 admission) and a Next Level Comedy Showcase for rising stars at 7:30 p.m. Thursday ($12). The weekend headliner is Jeff Leeson, who combines traditional stand-up comedy with long-form improv. His shows start at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday (19-$22) and 7:30 p.m. Sunday ($14-$17). thecomedycatch.com

-- "Meditation & the Power To Be Happy" is the topic of a talk and meditation session led by American Buddhist nun Gen Lhadron 6:30-7:45 p.m. Thursday in the Victorian Garden business center, 6918 Shallowford Road, Suite 126. Cost is $15. To register: meditationingeorgia.org/chattanooga

-- Chattacon, a convention for fans of science fiction and fantasy, returns for its 48th year this weekend at the DoubleTree Hilton, 407 Chestnut St. Guests of honor include comic-book writer Martin Powell, stained-glass artist Leia Powell, costume artist Paige Gardner, author and graphic artist B.L. Blankenship and YouTube's "Props to History" special-effects technician Michael Corrie. Activities include an art show, cosplay, an anime ball, workshops, classes, meet-and-greets, a masquerade ball and a console gaming tournament. Hours are 3-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday. Weekend badges cost $45-$60. chattacon.org

-- Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will offer a free history program, "Winter Vistas: The Battle Begins in Earnest" at 2 p.m. Saturday. Participants will meet at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center, 3370 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., then caravan to the starting point for a 1-mile, 90-minute, ranger-led hike explaining the events that occurred in the early hours of Sept. 19, 1863. nps.gov/chch

-- Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival returns for its 32nd year this weekend in Birchwood. At least 20,000 sandhill cranes are estimated to migrate through or spend the winter near the Hiwassee Refuge, a 6,000-acre site managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. It will be open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with spotting scopes set up for closeup views of the sandhill cranes, rarer whooping cranes, other waterfowl and bald eagles. Visitors must park at the Birchwood Community Center, 5623 Highway 60, and ride the free shuttles to the refuge and the nearby Cherokee Removal Memorial, where American Indian folklore specialists will have artifacts on view. At the community center, visitors can enjoy free shows by the American Eagle Foundation (12:30 and 1:30 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. and noon Sunday) and musical guests 2nd Nature (11:30 p.m. Saturday) and Mount LeConte Jug Band (10 a.m. Sunday). tn.gov/twra/news

-- Dinner With the Doctor, which offers a free meal and the screening of the film "PlantPure Nation," is scheduled at 6 p.m. Monday at South Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church, 4605 Redlands Drive. The church phone number is 423-708-2160, but reservations are not required.

Find more events, and add your own, at timesfreepress.com/cnevents.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.