Ward Museum Holds 19th Annual Wildfowl Expo, Oct. 8
Decoy collectors and carvers from across the country travel to 19th Annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo.
The 19th Annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Ward Museum has opened its doors to world class collectors and carvers for nearly two decades during the crisp, clear fall for a day of excitement, anticipation and socialization.
The annual event pays tribute to decoys from the past while encouraging the carving of new ones, attracting 1,500-2,000 guests from North Carolina to New York, each year.
According to Ward Museum Executive Director Lora Bottinelli, the front parking lot is transformed into a festive marketplace with more than thirty vendors buying, selling and trading an eclectic mix of fine antique decoys, folk art and collectible waterfowling and hunting items.
Those attending can buy, sell or trade items and visitors are encouraged to bring their decoys in for identification and appraisal.
The opening reception, entitled ‘Chincoteague Decoys; Tide and Times’ will kick off at 10 a.m. During the reception, funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, guests will learn about Chincoteague Island, Va. and the carvers born there.
“Chincoteague Island is a major center for waterfowl and heritage so we took the opportunity to touch on the historical side….the carving and hunting tradition is part of the fabric of Chincoteague,” Bottinelli says.
Following the reception is the Sam Dyke Gateway to Outdoor Discovery Dedication at 2 p.m. In addition to the reception and dedication, the Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo will host the “Old Birds” Antique Decoy Competition, Contemporary Antique Competition and the Chesapeake Challenge.
Throughout the day, guests can compete for prizes in floating, shorebird and woodpecker decoy divisions. Youths are encouraged to join in on the fun with carving demonstrations and children’s activities at the Kid’s Corner, including make and take projects and educational nature activities.
“The future of decoy carving n waterfowl traditions are embedded in the younger generation,” Bottinelli says. “Many young decoy makers, apprentice to their fathers or grandfathers, or pick it out from curiosity.”
The event is free and will go on rain or shine. To learn more about the Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo, visit www.wardmuseum.org.