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Festival offers lineup with a mix of old, new

By Staff
Competitions, exhibits are focused on wildlife during three-day event
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
One of Washington’s signature festivals returns next month, offering more events and activities than ever, according to its organizers.
The 13th-annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships returns to the Washington Civic Center and other locations in the city Feb. 8-10.
Some Washington merchants and innkeepers are looking forward to the return of festival, which takes place in what is traditionally a slow time of the year when it comes to sales, according to some of them.
Some of the guests with reservations for the festival weekend stayed at The Moss House during the festival’s run last year, he said.
The proximity of The Moss House to the Civic Center and downtown restaurants and shops appeals to some of the festival’s exhibitors, he said.
The festival begins Feb. 8 with a preview reception, with the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild and The East Carolina Bank serving as co-hosts. The reception is for festival sponsors and invited guests. The festival opens to the public at 9 a.m. Feb. 9, closing at 5 p.m. The festival opens at 9 a.m. Feb. 10, concluding at 4 p.m.
In addition to having the inaugural North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition Jan. 28-29 at the Turnage Theater as a prelude to the festival, the three-day event in February includes a display of some of the entries in that competition. The festival’s lineup also features the N.C. Junior Duck Stamp competition, the Southern Classic Duck, Goose and Swan Calling Championships will be held at the west end of Stewart Parkway. The event includes the North Carolina duck-calling championship, the winner of which will represent North Carolina at the World Championship Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart, Ark., during Thanksgiving weekend this year. The state contest is sponsored by North Carolina Ducks Unlimited.
Joining the festival’s events and activities is the Pamlico Regional Duck Calling Competition. That competition, formerly known as the Swamp Fox Regional Duck Calling Competition, made its first appearance at the festival two years ago. It used to be held in South Carolina. The event’s name was changed because of it being conducted in the Pamlico River watershed.
The winner of the regional event qualifies to compete in the World Championship Duck Calling Contest.
The Outdoor Wildlife Market, where one can shop, browse and purchase from various wildlife-related vendors, is returning to the festival, too.
Concessions will be provided throughout the weekend by the Christian Men’s Fellowship from First Christian Church in Washington. The men will provide a variety of foods, including their signature clam chowder.
A one-day ticket for the festival costs $8, with a two-day pass costing $10.
The festival’s main exhibits, its vendors and The East Carolina Bank Sportsmen Center are located at the Washington Civic Center, with many events and activities taking place in areas such as Stewart Parkway along the Pamlico River. The carving competitions will take place at the Red Men’s Lodge on East Third Street. The Wildlife Art and Decoy Auction will be held at the newly renovated Turnage Theater on West Main Street.
More than 100 pieces of wildlife art and decoys will be up for bids at the auction.
For additional details about the upcoming festival, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.