Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val kicks off 48th year

The Star Democrat - - OPINION -

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.

Canadian artist Eric Tardif is this year’s fea­tured artist. Jeff Rechin of Vir­ginia is this year’s mas­ter carver.

The Fes­ti­val fea­tures peren­ni­ally pop­u­lar events like the world wa­ter­fowl call­ing cham­pi­onships, retriever and rap­tor demon­stra­tions, Dock Dogs, and art ex­hibits.

Other high­lights in­clude:

• Ac­tiv­i­ties for kids, in­clud­ing art ac­tiv­i­ties, fish­ing derby and minia­ture de­coy paint­ing;

• Ex­hibits and ven­dors for sports­men, in­clud­ing wa­ter­fowl­ing ar­ti­facts and sport­ing arms ex­hibits, and the Sports­man’s Pavil­ion, and call­ing con­tests, in­clud­ing the World Cham­pi­onship goose, live goose, live duck and team goose call­ing con­tests;

• Won­der­ful food from non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions at con­ces­sion stands lo­cated at var­i­ous Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val venues, of­fer­ing Fes­ti­val-go­ers a wide range of food choices while sup­port­ing wor­thy causes; and

• Shop­ping op­por­tu­ni­ties — in ad­di­tion to the art for sale, the Fes­ti­val of­fers the Ar­ti­sans Gifts & Work­shop, Fes­ti­val Shoppes and Buy, Sell, Swap.

Vis­i­tors also will want to visit some of the many restau­rants and stores in Eas­ton and Tal­bot County dur­ing their trip here for the Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val.

The Fes­ti­val has raised more than $6.5 mil­lion since 1971 for re­gional wa­ter­fowl and habi­tat con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, ed­u­ca­tion and re­search.

Founded in 2011, Wa­ter­fowl Ch­e­sa­peake is the Fes­ti­val’s pri­mary ben­e­fi­ciary, with a mis­sion of cre­at­ing, restor­ing and con­serv­ing wa­ter­fowl habi­tat through­out the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay water­shed and nearby coastal bays.

Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val Inc. is a non profit, 501(c)(3) or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to wildlife con­ser­va­tion, the pro­mo­tion of wildlife art and the cel­e­bra­tion of life on Mary­land’s Eastern Shore.

Com­plete in­for­ma­tion about the Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val is avail­able in the of­fi­cial guide and at www.wa­ter­fowlfes­ti­val.org. Pocket guides fea­tur­ing sched­ules and maps are avail­able at the Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val head­quar­ters at South and Harrison streets and at ven­dors around town.

The Wa­ter­fowl Fes­ti­val of­fers a range of ex­hibits, events and ac­tiv­i­ties for young and old, lo­cal res­i­dents and vis­i­tors. Come out and en­joy the sights, sounds and fla­vors of this year’s Fes­ti­val.

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