CAPE MAY — New Jersey Audubon Society officlas are preparing for the 66th Autumn Bird Festival from Friday through Sunday at what will also be the first trade show at the new Cape May Convention Hall.

The first test for this type of event at the new $10.5 million hall, which opened over Memorial Day weekend, is expected to draw a big crowd, NJAS Tourism and Events Manager Marleen Murgitroyde said.

“We have people coming from 31 states and 10 foreign countries. Over 800 people are registered, and we’ll probably have over 1,000,” Murgitroyde said.

More than 60 vendors were interested but Murgitroyde said space limited the number to 43. The hall will be filled with exhibits, artwork, optic sales, authors selling their books on the avian world, and even some live owls, hawks and eagles. On Saturday and Sunday a hybrid wolf will be here, part of the Halloween flavor of the event.

The weekend is not just the inside exhibits known as The Bird Show. There are also outside field trips, boating excursions, lectures, a dinner and other events. Murgitroyde said some are already sold out.

There is no limit on ticket sales to enter Convention Hall. The price is $5 at the door, $2 for children age 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. The hall will be open today from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This is the 66th edition of the fall birding festival but the first time since 2007 for the indoor exhibits. The old conventional hall was declared structurally unsound in 2008.

The weekend is timed to the height of the fall bird migration. For more information, visit the Website: or call the society’s Cape May Bird Observatory at 609-884-2736.

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