Cranes, Colors, and Cabernet Festival

Annual series of events in October

Cranes Colors & Cabernet _ The Big 400 Event

The Big 400 celebrates autumn with their Cranes, Colors & Cabernet Festival (and Cider too!) in October each year.

The Greater Sandhill Crane is celebrated with this fun, family-friendly festival. One of the largest Crane sanctuaries in Michigan, the Haehnle Bird Sanctuary is located within The Big 400. In the fall, Sandhill Cranes gather in staging areas like the Haehnle Sanctuary to begin the migration process. During the height of the staging period thousands of Cranes can be seen at the sanctuary.

The festival takes place around The Big 400, the tourism area surrounding the Waterloo and Pinckney Recreation Areas. Here are some of the highlights.

Events and Locations (Tentative)

Haehnle Bird Sanctuary

Seymour Road, Jackson – see map below or use GPS coordinates: 42.322, -84.289 

The Jackson Audubon Society and the Michigan Audubon Society are teaming up together to offer a day filled with activities including:

  • Nature walk tour with Haehnle naturalist
  • Talk on natural history of Greater Sandhill Crane by Gary Siegrist
  • Driving car tour to local hot spots to see cranes feeding in fields
  • Watch cranes return to roosting area at Haehnle, scopes available with bird ID by local experts

Free admission.

Haehnle Bird Sanctuary Map-

Legacy Land Conservancy

Cranes Colors & Cabernet Walk 

Sharon Hills Preserve, Sharon Hollow Road – see map below – between Walker and Washburn Roads), Manchester, MI
Beckwith Preserve – see map below – E Main St on north side just after Maple intersection, Stockbridge, MI

As part of the Big 400’s fall celebration, join Legacy for guided wine tasting hikes at two of our preserves: Sharon Hills Preserve just north of Manchester, or Beckwith Preserve in Stockbridge.

Learn a bit about how and why trees change color in the fall. Each new bend or hilly alcove in the trail may feature a Sandhill Crane vineyard wine or show of anthocyanin color! Register for either walk at or 734.302.5263.

Sandhill Crane Vineyards

11:00 am – 7:00 pm –  4724 Walz Road, Jackson

In honor of the Cranes, Colors & Cabernet Festival, the winery is open until 7:00 pm for late Crane watchers to stop by and warm up after their visit to the Haehnle Sanctuary. They will offer tastes of seasonal wines and mulled wine all day to help warm any cold bird watchers. The winery’s café will be open all day with several specials dishes prepared using seasonal ingredients and local wine.

For more information call 517.764.0679. Free admission. Wine tasting: $5 per person

Manchester Agri-Tour

Various locations around Manchester

For further information on this tour, please contact Ray Berg at

The Manchester Agri-Tour bus tour will visit two farm locations for demonstrations on technology use in dairy production and the latest in organic farming, along with two historic locations for viewing of reconstructed farm and milling buildings and presentations on 19th century living in Manchester. Also included are a walking tour of downtown Manchester historic churches and the village green, with lunch served in Manchester.

The tour is sponsored by the Village of Manchester DDA and Chamber of Commerce, and funded by the Community Tourism Action Plan through the Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

J. Hayes State Park

Colors Hike & Campground Activity Area
1220 Wamplers Lake Rd, Onsted, MI 49265

Take a hike with the Park Ranger at W. J. Hayes State Park and learn about what the park has to offer, while viewing the beautiful fall colors. Hikers can meet in the Campground Activity Area before departing on a mile-long hike at 4:00 pm.

Hidden Lake Gardens

9 a.m.- 7 p.m.
6214 Monroe Rd, Tipton, MI 49287 Tipton, MI (517)431-2060

The month of October is prime time for autumn foliage color in the Irish Hills, and with 755 acres of gardens, arboretum, and natural areas, Hidden Lake Gardens is the prime location to view fall colors of yellow, orange, red, and russet. We are open every day in October from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. With six miles of paved driving roads and over 10 miles of hiking trails, there are ample opportunities for visitors to experience the beauty of autumn either by walking, hiking, jogging, driving, or bicycling.

On each Saturday in October, The Exploration Station will be open to take a closer look at Autumn Leaves.

Behind the scenes tour led by Managing Director, Paul Pfeifer. Learn how and why plant leaves change colors in fall and tour areas of Hidden Lake Gardens with amazing fall color.

The A-Z Nature Preschool Class allows children ages 3-7 to explore the natural world of leaves through songs and crafts.

Please call 517-431-2060 for more information and to register for classes and tours.

Gerald Eddy Discovery Center

17030 Bush Rd, Chelsea, (734)475-3170
Sandhill Crane Tour

Local expert Bill Wells will show a film about Sandhill Cranes and then lead a driving tour to view them around the Waterloo Recreation Area. Visitors can expect to see large flocks of these magnificent birds at close range. Bring binoculars and cameras.

…And Cider Too!

The Big 400 area is a great spot for cider mills and apples. Here’s a partial list of mills and restaurants offering cider specials just for this event.



Irish Hills Area