Quack! Quack! Festival preparing for its 19th appearance
Published 5:17 pm Wednesday, January 1, 2014
If the upcoming 2014 East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships seem a bit different than previous festivals, there’s a good reason for it.
That reason? There’s a new partnership that’s managing the festival. The East Carolina Wildfowl Guild, originators of the festival, has joined forces with the Washington Tourism Development Authority to organize and present the event, set for Feb. 7-9 this year. In addition to the usual festival activities, this year’s festival will feature expanded activities at the N.C. Estuarium and a new and expanded carving competition. The show chairwoman is Lynn Lewis, Washington’s tourism-development director. Jay Sullivan is chairman of the carving competitions and Mike Hicks is chairman of the festival’s auction component.
For years, David and Sandra Gossett served as show chairman and exhibits/vendors chairwoman, respectively. After last year’s festival, the Gossetts turned the festival’s planning over to other guild members and the Washington Tourism Development Authority.
Many downtown merchants and restaurant owners say the festival being held in February helps them through what is traditionally their slow time of the year — January, February and March. In 2006, a study estimated expenditures at the 2006 festival by visitors, competitors, exhibitors and the public was estimated at $163,000. With the festival growing since 2006, those expenditures have grown with the festival, with some tourism officials indicating that impact is now around the $300,000 range, if now higher.
As a precursor to the 19th-annual festival, guild will host the competition to select the artwork for the next North Carolina waterfowl conservation stamp, known better as the duck stamp. The competition is set for Jan. 27 at the Washington Civic.
For taking first place in the contest, the winning artist receives $7,000 in prize money and a $300 travel allowance to help him or her attend the festival.
Selected entries from this year’s competition will be displayed at the Civic Center until the festival ends.
Revenue from sales of duck-stamp prints and stamps go to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Waterfowl Fund, which provides money for the conservation of waterfowl habitat in North Carolina. The fund has raised more than $4.2 million since its inception.
“The money is used to help North Carolina meet its financial obligations in implementing the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the international agreement helping restore waterfowl populations throughout the continent. In addition, funds have been used to support waterfowl research and to buy equipment used to manage wetlands,” according to the commission’s website.