17th Annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo
October 11, 2014
Overcast skies, light rain and a moderately chilly morning did not dampen the excitement and competition as the 17th 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. A nice portion of the planned 35 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 250 carvings entered by 130 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 Jon Jones, from Algonac, MI, Mallard won best in show with his Drake. Last year’s second place winner for Goldeneye, Luke Costilow, from Amherst, OH, won Second in Show with his Mallard Drake One of this year’s NEA sponsored students, Peyton Eubanks from Winterville, NC won the Youth division best in show for his Scaup. Leagan Eubanks, of Winterville, NC, who was last year’s best in show, won second in show for the Youth this year for his Canvas Back
Saturday saw most of the backyard activities moved indoors. The morning began with a Master Carvers Forum in the Oristano Room in which this year’s 10 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 in the lobby 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 birdhouses and carving silhouette Red Headed Woodpecker. The Common Eider duck head carving contest was well represented by youth this year and was won by 12 year old Daniel Irons of Wye Mills, MD.
Historian Henry H. Stansbury drew a nice audience early in the afternoon for his discussion and book signing on the life and work of Lloyd J. Tyler in the Oristano room. The opening reception later in the afternoon brought many in to enjoy Lloyd J. Tyler “Folk Artist and Decoy Maker” on display in the LaMay Gallery. Guests also had the opportunity to view the “A Most Respectable Bird: The Wild Turkey” exhibit in the Welcome Gallery, as well as the winners of the 4th annual Art in Nature Photo Festival.