6-8 March 2015 Houston, Minnesota USA

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International Festival of Owls Photo Gallery


2015 Festival of Owls Raffle

Buy a raffle ticket to support the International Owl Center and for a chance to win some great owl prizes!

The raffle drawing will be held at 1:45 PM on Sunday, March 8 at Houston High School. Need not be present to win. Must be 18 or over to purchase tickets.

$5 for one ticket

$20 for five tickets

Purchase tickets at the Houston Nature Center or International Owl Center before the Festival or at Houston High School during the Festival.

You can also purchase tickets by mail. Simply print off the registration form and mail it in with your raffle ticket payment before the Festival.



60" Round Crocheted Owl Blanket made by Connie Verse


Snowy Owl fleece throw 

Snowy Owl Photo Blanket by Kara Susag



Great Horned Owl Fleece Throw



23"x19" Snowy Owl Challenge original painting by Ann Luloff



Great Horned Owl framed and matted print by Rosemary Millette



Kitchen Owl Basket by the Iris Garden Club



Raven Binoculars by Eagle Optics



 Owl giclee print of an original watercolor by Sue (Doblar) McDonald

High Resolution Photo Gallery

The photos below may be downloaded and used along with articles about the International Festival of Owls as long as the photographer listed for each photo is given credit.


Alice the Great Horned Owl. The festival started as a celebration of her hatch-day.

© Images by Ingvalson


Barnaby the Barn Owl, winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2011 Lady Gray'l Award.

© Richard Ford


Donna and Carlos Royal, winners of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2012 Special Achievement Award, pictured in front of Molly & McGee's nest box.


Professor Dr. Claus König, winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2011 Champion of Owls Award. Pictured with his book, "Owls of the World."

Everyone gets an up close and person look at the live owl programs. Here Marge Gibson, founder of the Raptor Education Group, shows off Little Bit, a full grown Northern Saw-whet Owl, to a young fan.

© Alan Stankevitz


Colin Shawyer holding four Barn Owl chicks.Winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2010 Special Achievement Award

David Johnson

David H. Johnson, Director of the Global Owl Project, holding European Eagle Owl chicks. Winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2010 Champion of Owls Award.

Denver Holt

Denver Holt, winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2012 Champion of Owls Award, holding a young Snowy Owl.

© Brenda Rone.

Gary Duke

Dr. Gary Duke, co-founder of The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, received the 2009 Special Achievement Award from the World Owl Hall of Fame.


Georgie the Barn Owl from the World Owl Trust in England was the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2009 Lady Gray'l Award winner.

Hooston and Houston

Hooston, the festival owl mascot, with Stuart and Meg Houston from New York state.

Jim Duncan Family

Dr. James R. Duncan, pictured here with wife Patsy, daughter Brooke, son Connor, and Long-eared Owl, Nemo, was the recipient of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2009 Champion of Owls award.

Mary and Karla

Mary Bethe Wright and Owly the Short-eared Owl flew in from Alaska to receive Owly's Lady Gray'l Award for the World Owl Hall of Fame. left to right: Mary Bethe Wright, Owly the Short-eared Owl, Karla Kinstler (festival coordinator).

Michael Wink

Prof. Dr. Michael Wink, winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2012 Special Achievement Award.

Owl Clock Julie

Bid on awesome owl items like this hand-carved owl cuckoo clock from Germany at the live auction.

© Alan Stankevitz

Owl Face Pancake

Get your owl face pancakes with real maple syrup at the Lutheran Church on Saturday morning.

© Alan Stankevitz

Owl Sugar Cookies

You'll find all kinds of creative owly goodies at the owl bake sale table at the festival.

Pot Plant Owl

Pot Plant Owl the Spotted Eagle Owl, winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2012 Lady Gray'l Award. (c) Allan Eccles

Raju Acharaya

Raju Acharya of Nepal, winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2011 Special Achievement Award.

Stair Master

Alice the Great Horned Owl, winner of the World Owl Hall of Fame's 2010 Lady Gray'l Award

Stuffed Snowies

These stuffed Snowy Owls are among the large selection of owl merchandise offered for sale at the festival.


Tobin the flying European Barn Owl from the World Bird Sanctuary wows the crowd as he skims their heads.

© Alan Stankevitz

Tony Warburton and Karla

Tony Warburton, founder of the World Owl Trust, flew in from England to receive the 2007 Champion of Owls Award for the World Owl Hall of Fame. He is pictured with his award and festival coordinator Karla Kinstler.

Wolfgang Scherzinger

Dr. Wolfgang Scherzinger from Germany, winner of the 2013 Champion of Owls Award

Dr Severinghaus

Dr. Lucia Liu Severinghaus from Taiwan, winner of a 2013 Special Achievement Award

Ana Trejo

Dr. Ana Trejo from Argentina, winner of a 2013 Special Achievement Award

Bundi Verreaux's Eagle Owl

Bundi the Verreaux's Eagle Owl from Kenya, winner of the 2013 Lady Gray'l Award

Directions, Lodging and Weather

Directions, Lodging and Weather


The International Festival of Owls takes place throughout the town of Houston, Minnesota (and the banquet is in Caledonia, Minnesota). All you need to do is get to Houston and follow the signs posted around town to get to where you need to go.

Click her to get directions to Houston using Google Maps.


The closest airport is located in La Crosse, Wisconsin (LSE), 24 miles (40 minutes) east of Houston. Hertz and Avis both rent cars at the terminal, but be aware there are no buses or trains that come to Houston, and taxis must be called. Connecting flights to La Crosse come through Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), and Detroit (DTW) airports.


From the west: Follow I-90 East to exit 258 (the Houston exit.) Take Highway 76 south 14 miles to Houston. Or exit I-90 at Dexter (exit 193) and take Highway 16 seventy miles to Houston following the Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway.

From the south: From Decorah, Iowa take W-38 (Locust Road) north. It will turn into County Road 8 at the Minnesota border. Turn right (east) onto Highway 44 and go almost to Spring Grove. Turn left (north) onto County Road 4. Continue until you come to a stop sign at Highway 76 and turn left (north). Follow Highway 76 into Houston. 42 miles, 60+ minutes

From the east: Follow I-90 West to exit 275 (at Dresbach) to Highway 14 E/Highway 61 S. Go straight at the stoplights in La Crescent, Minnesota to get on Highway 16 (Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway). Continue 18 miles to Houston.

From the north: From Minneapolis/St. Paul take Highway 52 south. Just south of Rochester turn left onto I-90 East. Go 40 miles, then take exit 258 (Houston exit). Go south on Highway 76 fourteen miles to Houston.


Houston can offer a surprising variety of lodging options for such a small town.

*Loken's Sawwmill Inn and Suites - Awarded MN Lodging Association's 2010 Property of the Year (50 rooms or fewer)

*The Bunkhouse - good for a casual group that likes a rustic feel

Money Creek Buffalo Ranch - cabin

Money Creek Retreat - a whole three bedroom house

Outback Ranch - cabins


*Crest Red Carpet Inn


       *Loken's Rushford Inn

*Festival Sponsors


This is Minnesota...the weather can do anything! We've had everything from record snowfall, blizzard conditions and high temperatures well below freezing leading up to the Festival of Owls in 2007 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C) and sunny the last day of the festival in 2005. "Average" high temperatures in early March are 34 F (1 C) and average lows are 15 F (-9 C). Please check the weather reports before you come so you have an idea what to expect. And don't forget to dig out your long underwear, warmest coat, mittens, and a toasty hat if you plan to go on one of the owl prowls.

Cell Phones

We are located in the beautiful Root River Valley, with lots of hills around us. This means cell phone reception can be spotty, and not all carriers have towers in the area. AT&T phones do not work in Houston. Verizon gives the best coverage.


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