With the arrival of cranes, the people of Phobjikha once again celebrated the 11th annual Black-necked Crane festival on 12th November 2009. Apart from the large crowd this year, over 130 Black-necked cranes graced the valley at the time of the festival, the highest number to arrive at this time.
The festival was attended by the Dasho Dzongrab of Wangdue Dzongkhag as the chief guest along with other VIPs, the Prime Minister’s wife, Finance Minister’s wife, wife of Minister of Economic Affairs, and wife of Ministry of Works and Human Settlement. During the opening speech, the Chief Guest highlighted the importance of Phobjikha as a habitat of the Black-necked crane and urged the community of Phobjikha and the visitors to support the crane conservation in the valley. The Chief guest also lunched the ecotourism travel guide "Explore Phobjikha" during the festival.
The local communities, the schools, the monk and the lay monks all joined together to entertain the crowd. The local community performed the traditional cultural dances, mask dances and dances on the Black-necked cranes. One of the distinctive shows in this year’s event was the play with environment and religion theme staged by the Kuenzanchholing Monastic Institution.
As always the crane dance performed by the local school children dressed up as cranes received big applause from the audience. The event is organized every year by Phobjikha Environment Management Committee (PEMC), a local community group composed of elected leaders, the government sector representatives, the monk body, and RSPN. The festival was first initiated by RSPN in early 1998 and it has now become a part of the local event in Phobjikha valley.