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Wildlife festival undergoes changes

Published 9:51pm Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships return to Washington next month with some changes.
The dual events take place Feb. 8-10. The festival and carving championships are organized by the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild. A one-day admission ticket is $10, with a three-day admission ticket costing $15.
The main changes to this year’s festival are that the carving championships return to the Peterson Building next to the Washington Civic Center, where most of the exhibitors will be housed, said Mike Hicks, show chairman this year. Children’s activities and programs will be centered at the North Carolina Estuarium, he said. Also, there will be no food concessions at festival sites. Instead, Hicks said, festival-goers and exhibitors will be directed to area restaurants to satisfy their food needs.
“We’ve got plenty of exhibitors. We’ve got the carving competition. We’ve got DockDogs. Those primary things we’ve had in the past, we’ve got all that,” Hicks said Tuesday.
Hicks addressed the food situation.
“We’re going to work with the local restaurants and communicate with them and let them know we are going to try to get the people who are in town to spend more time going to the local restaurants to try to pick their business up a little bit,” Hicks said. “As an example, in the exhibitors’ packages, we are going to have information about all the new restaurants to try to get them to the restaurants.”
Other changes are in the works, Hicks said.
“The other significant change we made is that the children’s activities are going to be coordinated through the North Carolina Estuarium. We are trying to go from more of an entertainment aspect for children to an educational aspect for children,” Hicks said. “They’ve got some special programs.”
Usually, it costs $2 for a child to visit the Estuarium, but children whose parents buy a festival ticket get to visit the Estuarium free, Hicks said. Adults with festival tickets will be admitted to the Estuarium for $2 each instead of the usual $4 fee.
“We’ve got a broad group of exhibitors. … For all practical purposes, we have a great group of exhibitors,” Hicks said.
Prior to the festival, the guild will host the competition to select the artwork for the 2013 North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. The competition’s winner and other top competition entries will be displayed at the Civic Center during the festival weekend.
For additional details about the festival, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.

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