• 55°

Keep it going

The next East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships could be bigger and better, but it won’t be the same.

That’s because David and Sandra Gossett, members of the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild, which puts on the festival, will no longer be planning, nurturing and overseeing the festival, which they did for 17 years. David Gossett served as show chairman during those years. Sandra Gossett oversaw the recruitment of exhibitors and vendors.

David Gossett informed the Washington City Council during its meeting Monday that others will be responsible for doing most of the work previously done by him and his wife. Although the Gossetts had plenty of help from their fellow guild members, there is no doubt they were instrumental in making the festival one of the top festivals in Washington and one of the top events of its kind in the nation. They always looked for ways and means to expand and diversify the festival so it did not get stale.

They succeeded greatly.

Gossett thanked the city, its leadership and its employees for working with the guild to improve, enhance and expand the festival. He was correct in doing so, but the Gossetts and the guild are deserving of thanks, too.

The city, Beaufort County and North Carolina owe a debt of gratitude for making the Eastern North Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and the North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships one of the premier events of its kind in the nation. If nothing else, the city and others must ensure the festival continues, if for no other reason than to honor the Gossetts’ legacy when it comes to the festival.

“You’ve succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. It’s been a huge, huge benefit for the city,” Mayor Archie Jennings told Gossett. “I’m sure we’ll find a time to thank you more thoroughly and appropriately. … I can’t imagine, at this point, not having a festival. So, I’m going to charge the staff to get with the guild and do whatever we have to do to try to bridge the gap in your absence and keep this thing going. You deserve that in the way of a legacy.”

Amen, and amen.