A year’s work ready to pay off
Waterfowl Festival volunteers prep for weekend ahead
EASTON — With the upcoming weekend revolving around conservation, community, hospitality and heritage, Waterfowl Festival artists and volunteers were hard at work this week, prepping for the festivities to come.
The festival is in its 48th year, and has raised more than $6.5 million for regional waterfowl and habitat conservation efforts. Featured Art Committee Co-chairperson Kathy Dawkins is entering her 27th year with the festival, and is on the festival’s Hall of Fame.
“We had rain Tuesday, which made outside set up a little hard,” she said alongside a crew near the featured artist tent, across from the Waterfowl Festival Building. “We always push through the elements and everybody has a great attitude.”
The crew included Carl Tankersley, Tom Ledvina, Scott Sullivan, Jake Barnes and Sylvan Kaufman. Each reported several years of involvement in helping with the festival.
Tankersley’s wife is Nancy Tankersley, a contemporary impressionist whose work is featured in the festival. She travels worldwide showcasing her art, teaching and judging.
This year’s featured artist is Canadian Interpretative sculptor Eric Tardif. Dawkins articulated his art as “modern,” “stylistic,” and “unique.” While Tardif typically focuses on various wood mediums, his featured piece is bronze.
Waterfowl Chesapeake Executive Director Margaret Enloe said it’s amazing that the festival has volunteers who have been around for 45 years.
“I don’t volunteer just for the weekend,” said
Waterfowl Board and Hall of Fame member and Co-chairperson of Art at the Armory Martha Horner. “I started when I moved here 40 years ago. It was something to do, and I just love it.”
“We meet all these nice people, ar tists and nice friends I wouldn’t have known otherwise,” she said.
“We are very lucky to be able to volunteer and give our time,” said Waterfowl Hall of Fame member and Featured Artists Exhibit Co-chairperson Ann White. “I just feel very glad that I’ve been able to give back to the community.”
“One of the reasons I enjoy volunteering is I get to meet all these artists from across the country,” said volunteer Linda Little. “I get to help them set up and learn about their craft and their part of the country.”
When Thursday morning comes and the festivities begin, former art committee chair and volunteer Linda Goss said, to her, it feels like “the curtain is going up.”
The 48th Annual Waterfowl Festival begins today with opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre. The Premiere Night Party will follow from 4:30-8:30 p.m. at the Waterfowl Festival headquarters, which also hosts the “Making Way for Ducklings” auction to benefit local scholarships at 7 p.m.
The premiere night party benefits the conservation work of Waterfowl Chesapeake and the Festival to create, restore and conserve waterfowl and their habitat in the Chesapeake Bay region.
The Festival has long depended on scores of local volunteers as well as participation by talented artists. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees — John Flohr, Albert Pritchett and Henry Stansbury — have been longtime supporters of the Waterfowl Festival, whether as volunteers, board members, or as an artist.
The Festival kicks off in earnest on Friday, Nov. 9, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 11. The Waterfowl Festival is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets for the Festival are $20 each, which gives access for all three days, with children under 10 admitted free. Some activities are not included in the general admission fee.
Volunteers Sylvan Kaufman, Jake Barnes, Co-Chairman of the Featured Art Committee Kathy Dawkins, and volunteers Scott Sullivan, Tom Ledvina and Carl Tankersley assist in setting up the featured artist tent on Wednesday.
Artist Sara Linda Poly of Easton setting up her pieces in the Waterfowl building. Poly said her favorite muse is the sun, and it works its way into many of her pieces.
The Waterfowl Festival draws longtime volunteers and new ones as well. Pictured in front of Artist Rob Leslie’s exhibit are Leslie, Ann White, Martha Horner, Lauren Little, Linda Goss, and Judy Knight. Seated are Betty Brunetti and Blenda Armistead.