Sometimes we Galvestonians create wonderful entertainment and learning experiences for folks from all over the world to enjoy — yet our own neighbors miss out. Let’s not let that happen for the unique Raptors Uncorked dinner and wildlife show April 8, right here in Galveston’s historic Topgallant Room. This amazing evening puts you up close and personal with flying birds of prey, while you savor an exceptional four-course Mediterranean-style dinner and wine from expert chefs of the Olympia Grill at Pier 21. This is my personal invitation for you to join me at 6 p.m. April 8, but you have to purchase your tickets in advance for this incredible evening because seating is limited.

Whenever I have attended, it has ranked as a highlight of my year. This unforgettable live raptor show includes a variety of birds: an Australian Laughing Kookaburra, Harris’ Hawks, a Black Vulture, a Saker Falcon, and an adorable Barn Owl. Kevin Gaines and his Sky King Falconry team bring the birds to town for Galveston Island Nature Tourism’s annual FeatherFest birding and photography festival. Raptors Uncorked this year combines great Greek food with the chance to witness these stunning, well trained birds. I’ve been lucky enough to even have one land right on my arm, but these courteous birds only do that with your permission. If you want a great memory of the evening, you can stop by the Safari Photo Booth for a professional photograph.

Being with these birds in such an intimate setting is thrilling enough, but this year, in addition, you can enjoy Olympia Grill at Pier 21’s fresh Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. I got a sneak peak at the menu for the sumptuous four-course dinner buffet, which includes many of my favorites: a Greek salad and appetizers of fresh vegetables, pita bread with hummus and tzatziki sauce, meat balls and cheesy seafood balls. Entree choices include chicken kebabs and spinach pastitsio, with rice pilaf and vegetables. A variety of desserts finish off the feast. Wine is uncorked and included for your pleasure.

FeatherFest is just one of many community educational and service events of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council. This special Raptors Uncorked event raises funds to support the youth education work the council carries on throughout the year. If you can attend this year, I’ll see you there. If you cannot attend, please consider buying a raffle ticket for one of the awesome items like a sail on Offatts Bayou, a private preview tour of Moody Gardens’ renovated penguin area, and so much more. I’m inviting you, my Galveston friends and neighbors, to join me in supporting this valuable community organization.

Here’s an easy link to the FeatherFest website:

In addition to this and other raptor events, you can explore the FeatherFest website to discover all the wonderful activities during this great photography and birding festival. Remember, this nationally known event is something local residents should take advantage of right here in our own backyard.

Victor Sierpina lives in Galveston.

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