Festival adds inaugural contest

Published 9:09 pm Sunday, January 11, 2009

By Staff
Guild asked to host IWCA event targeting nation’s young carvers
Contributing Editor
The East Carolina Wildfowl Guild is bringing another first to its annual festival in Washington.
The 14th-annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships, set for Feb. 6-8, will be the showcase for the International Wildfowl Carvers Association’s inaugural National Young Gun Decoy Carving Championship. The IWCA’s National Traditional Gunning Decoy Carving Championship also will be part of the weekend festival, according to David Gossett, a guild member and the festival’s show chairman.
The entries from young carvers, 17 years old or younger, will be judged at 3 p.m. Feb. 6, Gossett said.
Another addition to the festival weekend will be the appearance of the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association’s performances on the deck of the Washington Civic Center, the hub of the festival, throughout the day Feb. 7, Gossett said. The performances will be more of a “jam session” that features bluegrass, country and “old-time” gospel music.
Anyone musician interested in playing with the group is invited to do so, he said.
The festival continues to grow, he said.
As a prelude to the festival, the 2009 North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition returns to Washington. Last year was the first time a nationwide, public art competition was conducted to select the winning artwork used to produce the current North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp, also known as the “duck stamp.” The festival also will host the 2009 N.C. Junior Duck Stamp competition. The duck-stamp competition is scheduled for Jan. 26 at the Washington Civic Center, with the junior duck-stamp competition set for Jan. 28 at the North Carolina Estuarium.
The festival’s lineup also features 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.
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 North Carolina goose-calling and the world swan-calling competitions also are part of the festival lineup.
Delta Waterfowl will sponsor junior-level competitions in the state duck-, state goose- and world swan-calling contests.
Although the festival’s core is at the Washington Civic Center, many events and activities take 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 Feb. 7 at the Washington Yacht and Country Club, 7155 River Road.
The silent auction begins at 5 p.m., followed by the live auction from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. More than 100 pieces of wildlife art and decoys will be up for bids at the auction, which includes a seafood buffet. Dinner reservations may be made by calling (252) 946-9326 or 946-2897.
More than 150 exhibitors will display wildlife-related items, including many for sale.
Additional information about the festival and its components will be included in future editions of the Washington Daily News.