Birdfest: Community Members Gather to Celebrate the New and Improved Yard Bird at Birdfest 2013
Jason Mattson, who spent the past three years spearheading an effort to restore the 40-foot tall Yard Bird in Chehalis, celebrated the finished project on Saturday afternoon by cutting a ceremonial red ribbon in front of the bird during Birdfest 2013.
“Sometimes I didn’t think it would happen,” Mattson said. “But I’m really glad it did.”
Darris McDaniel, the owner of the Yard Bird along with Yard Birds Mall and Event Center and Shop’n Kart, said he was considering tearing down the Yard Bird three years ago before Mattson approached him and organized fundraising and volunteers.
The entire renovation project had a price tag of about $30,000, including an $8,000 donation from McDaniel.
“This is iconic for this community and for the Northwest,” McDaniel said. “I was humbled by how many people helped us. You never know what you have until you don’t have it.”
The Yard Bird is now fully enclosed with new fiberglass siding, a new tail and a fresh black coat of paint, including white stripes of paint to outline new feathers.
The painted feathers on the side of the Yard Bird are similar to how the bird looked in the early 1970s when it was used as a hangar to house a helicopter.
Volunteers also reattached the smaller bird next to the Yard Bird.
“People don’t realize it’s a female bird,” Miss Yard Bird 2013 Andrea Lochbaum said. “It’s a nesting bird. That is why it has the smaller bird.”
Over the three years working to restore the Yard Bird, Mattson and other volunteers used more than 60 gallons of paint and primer.
Volunteers put the final touches on the bird last week just before the celebration on Saturday.
Birdfest 2013 was held in conjunction with the third annual Kids Day at Yard Birds Mall.
A Yard Birds employee reunion was also held on Saturday.
Festivities included free popcorn and hot dogs, live music, a bounce house, pirate shows, exotic animals, the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, safety seminars, a time capsule dedication, a coloring contest and cartoons at Shankz Mini Golf.
The Yard Bird, which survived the 2007 and 2009 floods, had never been fully restored before.
By Kyle Spurr / firstname.lastname@example.org