Dr. George Archibold. Founder of the International Crane Foundation (holding the photograph), was honored at the opening ceremony. On the far right is Nyambayar Batbayar, the Mongol researcher in charge of the crane study. (If anyone reading this can identify any of the other people in the photo, please do so in the comments and I’ll add them)
On June 13, as planned, we attended the first International Crane Festival, which was held in the soum center of Binder, Han Hentii Aimag. It was a wonderful day and great to be able to, by our attendance, support the local community and the researchers. The first thing I noticed was a very large display of art created by local children. Since the main mission of the WildArt Mongolia Expeditions is to find ways to use art to support conservation, I could not have been happier to see this. I tried to photograph every piece and I’ve posted all those images, plus the opening ceremony and other activities. You may notice that the traditional clothes look different than what you usually see in my posts and that is because we were in Buryat Mongol country, which extends from northeastern Mongolia north into southern Siberia. Buryat dels have a distinctive front design and their boots and hats are different than the Khalkh Mongol versions. The feeling of being welcomed, however, was the same as everywhere else I’ve been in Mongolia.
Dr. Archibald doing a filmed interview
The art display area
Activity table for local kids. They’re making paper cranes.
I thought this was a great idea.
Then it was time for the opening ceremony!
Buryat Mongol dancers
Solo performer. She really rocked it!
Young singer in Buryat clothes. I liked the contrast with the girl in the photo above.
She did a dance about fetching water that I’d like to learn more about.
The festival had all the usual events..horse race, wrestling, anklebone shooting and more…
The anklebone shooting competition.
The finish of the horse race.
Cooling down her mount. The race horses always have the binding on the tail, so easy to tell which ones they are.
Mongol bukh (wrestling).
I got some great action shots!
During the break between rounds, these kids came out into the arena and picked flowers.
The five winners of the horse race riding in formation. They did a couple of full-circle wheels in unison. I was quite impressed since, as far as I know, the horses are not trained for this kind of thing at all.
We went to the shop in town and came upon this group who gave a concert that evening. A colorful ending to a great day!