Swoop of the Cranes back for fifth year in Monte Vista

Courtesy photo Decorated cranes will again be on display throughout Downtown Monte Vista just in time for the annual Crane Festival on March 8-10. This decorated crane is from last year.

MONTE VISTA — The Swoop of the Cranes is once again headed for Monte Vista to fill downtown with beautifully decorated, painted cranes. For the past five years, the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce has worked with Valley artists on this community art project.

Local businesses are given the chance to sponsor a 5-foot flat piece of steel in the shape of a Sandhill Crane. The crane is decorated and transformed by artists into a personal crane creation. Downtown Monte Vista is then adorned, during the Crane Festival in March, with these creations. Each is attached to a downtown light pole. The 41st Crane Festival is March 8-10.

The cranes are on display through the summer and into the fall. In the fall, the artist or sponsor of each crane can either buy it back for $100 or it can be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The money from the auction and buy back is used in the community for development projects such as planting trees, or flowers, and other landscaping or storefront improvements.

One purpose of this beautification project is to bring attention to the town and draw tourists. Many people travel through town during the summer and fall months and the cranes are part of what makes Monte Vista an artistic landmark.

The Swoop of the Cranes project was created in 2020 by then chamber board member Ken Hamko. He had the idea of creating the cranes, and having artists provide their unique touch to each one. Hamko believed by doing this, the cranes would help draw in tourists, and attention during the Crane Festival.

The Monte Vista Chamber Director Heather Hillin is excited about the project for this year and encourages residents and tourists to walk the town and enjoy the cranes.

The Chamber of Commerce is requesting that anyone who did not get to sponsor a crane this year, keep the project in mind for next year. For more information on the project, contact Hillin at the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce at 719-852-2731.