Ocracoke Waterfowl Festival debuts April 21

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The inaugural Ocracoke Island Waterfowl Festival is scheduled for April 21.

The new Ocracoke Island Decoy Carvers Guild is the sponsor of the festival, which will take place at the Ocracoke School gymnasium. The Ocracoke Foundation sponsors the nonprofit guild.

Dave O’Neal, an island resident and owner of Down Point Decoy Gallery, is the festival’s featured carver. The festival will include presentations on the art of decoy carving, raffles and local food.

The new guild, with open membership at $25 (yearly) a person, encourages carvers, whittlers, collectors and people who want to learn decoy carving to join its membership. Members may attend the festival, which will be an annual event, at no cost.

“Waterfowling has been a dramatic part of Ocracoke’s heritage and this folk art needs to be kept from becoming a lost art,” said John Simpson about why the guild was formed.

The guild selected a root head goose decoy carved by Ike O’Neal in the 1920s for its logo. Such decoys derive that name because the head and neck are made from fallen trees on the island, mostly cedar.