16th Annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo
October 12, 2013
Overcast skies, light rain and a chilly morning did not dampen the excitement and competition as the 16th annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo got under way. Expo celebrates the “old decoy” carving traditions while encouraging the public to participate in the carving of new decoys. Whether browsing the vendor’s wares, taking in one of the educational exhibits or just meeting other carvers, collectors and competitors, there was something for everyone.
On Saturday morning, in spite of the dreary conditions, the front parking lot was transformed into a festive marketplace. More than 25 of the planned 38 vendors gathered to participate in the Buy, Sell and Trade. The crowds were welcomed with an impressive array of antique decoys, collectible hunting items, paintings and folk art.
Weekend of Competition
The day's main attraction was having more than 350 carvings entered by 140 contemporary carvers into the Chesapeake Challenge. The judges spent several hours in the “blind” choosing the winning birds in each of the different categories and divisions. At the end of the day, it was the father/son pair of Mark and Luke Costilow, of Amherst, OH, taking first and second respectively. Mark placed first overall with his drake Gadwall and Luke placed second with his drake Goldeneye. One of this year’s NEA sponsored students; Leagan Eubanks of Winterville, NC won best of show, youth, with her Ring-necked drake. Competition within the shorebird and woodpecker divisions was also tough. Local Lewes, DE carver, Alan Humes won best of shorebirds with his Dowitcher, while previous NEA instructor, Ross Smoker of Selinsgrove, PA placed first in the woodpecker division with his Ivory Bill.
Saturday saw the backyard activities moved indoors. The morning began with a Master Carvers Forum in which this year’s 8 instructors from the “Carving Out Future Decoy Makers” program shared their experiences of teaching students the art of decoy carving. The group of instructors represented contemporary decoy carvers from New England to the Pacific coast.
Additional activities included a hatchet carving demonstration by Chincoteague resident, Roe Terry - using only a hatchet and traditional gouges, chisels and knives. The youngsters were kept busy at the kid’s corner building bird feeders and carving silhouette Puffins. The Northern Shoveler duck head carving contest was well represented by youth this year and was won by 11 year old Daniel Irons of Wye Mills, MD.
Dr. Cynthia Byrd drew a nice audience for her Discovering the Art of Ressurrection: Tales from the Taxidermy Trail lecture in the LaMay Gallery. Guests Also had the opportunity to view the Plates to Pixels exhibit in the Welcome Gallery, which included the winners of the 3rd annual Art in Nature Photo Festival.