The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, 909 S. Schumaker Drive, Salisbury, Maryland, will host its annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo and Fall Festival from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 12.
The Expo and Fall Festival is a day of friendly competition and family fun for all ages. Decoy shows and competitions have been taking place for more than a century, and have become a tradition within Eastern Shore culture. Honoring these traditions, the museum holds its annual Chesapeake Challenge from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the backyard overlooking Schumaker Pond.
Participating competitors in the Chesapeake Challenge must register from 8 to 10:30 a.m. During the challenge, working waterfowl decoys are judged in the water so their qualities and effectiveness for hunting may be evaluated.
In addition to the waterfowl decoy competition, there are separate competitions for shorebirds, woodpeckers and contemporary antique decoys. Prior to the start of the challenge, a separate youth competition for carvers ages 17 and younger takes place, with waterfowl decoys being floated and competing against one another for top honors. Vendors will convert the museum parking lot and Legacy Center into a marketplace for the Buy, Sell and Trade, which offers shoppers an assortment of antique decoys, collectible hunting items, folk art and outdoor memorabilia. Bring antique decoys for free identification and appraisals.
This year will feature two antique competitions. First, the popular “Old Birds” Antique Decoy Competition. Collectors from across the region are invited to enter antique decoys, carved prior to 1950, for evaluation. This contest differs from the Chesapeake Challenge in that the decoy is no longer judged for its usefulness as a hunting tool, but is instead judged for its collectability as a decoy with historical value. This year there are 10 categories that include specific species or carvings from a specific region or carver. This competition offers the public an opportunity to view collectible styles from around the country. The competition is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and registration is held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The “Cultured Can” Antique Oyster Can Competition — inspired by two exhibits officially opening during the expo, “War Over the Waves: Oyster Wars of the Chesapeake” and “Art of the Industry: Oyster Cans of the Mid-Atlantic” — encourages collectors to display a favorite antique oyster can, prior to 1970, or two from their collection. Visitors will vote for their favorite, and the winning people’s choice can will receive a ribbon and displayed in the “Art of the Industry” exhibit through Feb. 16, 2020. Register cans from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
An opening reception from 10 a.m. to noon will feature free Bloody Mary bar, juice and savory pastries in the gallery. A bake sale will take place throughout the day.
Family activities and crafts will include pumpkin painting and carving, carving demonstrations, outdoor games and the inaugural Quack or Treat trick-or-treating in the galleries from 2 to 3 p.m.
Admission is free.
For more, visit wardmuseum.org or call 410-742-4988, ext. 120.