The Fairfax County Park Authority held its Bluebells at the Bend Festival 2022 on Saturday, April 9. The famous wildflower bluebell walks rivaled the use of the eagle scope set up on the Potomac Heritage Trail for visitors to catch a glimpse of bald eagles. A mated pair has returned on Minnehaha Island and built a nest, visible from the trail.
The island is a three-acre plot of land in the middle of the Potomac River that Potomac Conservancy has protected with a conservation easement. One parent has been seen fishing for food, while the other has been seen warming up the eggs or eaglets.
When children were not hiking the trails or using the scope, they were entertained by exhibits, music by Andrew McKnight, a puppet show, meeting live animals, nature crafts, magnet fishing, and a ninja course.
Families attended the festival for multiple reasons. Brook Crespo of Springfield brought her children Ava, 7, and Max, 4. "We came before the pandemic, and Ava loved it. So, we came back," Crespo said.
Katherine Connell, an Arlington resident, came to buy nursery-grown bluebells for her preschool class at Clarendon Child Care Center. The Friends of Riverbend Park was selling potted nursery-grown bluebells on the deck of the Visitors Center for the benefit of Riverbend Park.
"This is for our spring planting done by 2 ½ to 5 year-olds," Connell said. The plant, Connell said, would be large enough for the children to handle, and they would be able to watch the flowers bud and bloom.
Adriana Ramirez of Fairfax and Alexandra Guano of Annandale, along with Daniel Alvarez, 5, and Miguel Alvarez, 3, had never been to the Bluebell Festival and thought it would be an excellent outing on a beautiful spring morning, as did the Ger family.