Don’t miss the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival

Published 12:31 am Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mark your calendars now for the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival, Feb. 6-8. The annual festival, one of Washington’s signature events, is right around the corner.

Started by the carvers of the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild, the event draws sportsmen and sportswomen from across the country and even some from outside it.

The festival is built around exhibition and competition.

The Washington Civic Center and other local venues will play host to world-class wildlife art when the show opens to the public Friday, Feb. 6. Show hours are Friday, 5-8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Another highlight of the weekend is the N.C. Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition. The winning artwork will be featured on the 2015-2016 North Carolina duck stamp, with the artist claiming a $7,000 prize and other perks. Proceeds from print and stamp sales support conservation of waterfowl habitat in North Carolina.

And then there’s the North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships. If you’ve never had an up-close look at this impressive craft, you’re in for a real treat. It’s not something you have to be an avid outdoorsman to appreciate.

Another annual favorite is the Children’s Decoy Painting Workshop at the N.C. Estuarium. Kids ages 4-12 learn the basics of painting waterfowl decoys from an experienced decoy carver. Workshop participants will take home their own decoy, a drake pintail duck.

Free workshops will be held Saturday, Feb 7 at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Workshop sizes are limited and fill up fast, so it’s best to sign up early. To register, call the Estuarium, 252-948-0000.

You won’t want to miss the ECWAF. Admission is $7 for a one-day pass or $12 for a 3-day weekend pass. Children under 12 get in free. Tickets may be purchased at the door of the civic center. Call 252-948-9415 for more information.

Ashley Vansant is the publisher of the Washington Daily News. He can be reached at