On Friday afternoon, falconer Marla Isaac pointed up to a break in the clouds above Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Ah, we got a bird of prey soaring...a red tailed hawk,” she said.

Mateo DeOliveira had his face painted as a tiger. — Alison L. Mead

After a morning of snow flurries and bitter cold, the sun was finally shining on Felix Neck’s Fall Festival. Despite the bad weather, volunteers showed up at 8 a.m. to begin preparing for the annual festival.

“We’ve got the heartiest of the hearty out here,” said sanctuary director Suzan Bellincampi. “We have amazing staff and volunteers.”

Turnout was low compared to last year’s record attendance of more than 800, which staff members attributed to Wednesday’s storm and ferry cancellations. But more than 300 guests attended the festival, which kicked off with a snowy early morning bird walk led by Robert Culbert.

With the Flying Elbows providing the music, a tent hosted families stringing popcorn and cranberry garlands, making owl finger puppets and having faces painted. Outside wreath making tables - traditionally one of the most popular stations at the festival - were full throughout the event. Volunteers spend fall weekends making the wreath frames, drying flowers and gathering pine and holly clippings for decoration.

“People get here early to make them,” said Ms. Bellincampi.

Babe the barred owl. — Alison L. Mead

Ms. Isaac’s live birds of prey drew a crowd as well, as festival goers got a close up look at a barn owl, a red tailed hawk, a turkey vulture and a barred owl. Babe, the barred owl, rode up front with Ms. Isaac in the van on the trip over from Taunton where she is the director of the New England Reptile and Raptor Exhibits. This was her fourth year at the festival.

“The kids love it,” she said.

As staff member Laura Hearn took admissions at the entrance to the festival she reflected on the event.

“It’s such a special holiday event,” she said. “For someone like me who came here as a child, it’s now a family tradition. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the Fall Festival.”

Photo gallery: Scenes from Fall Festival.