The Festival has become one of the most-recognized events in the region for its focus on the art of eastern North Carolina's waterfowl heritage.
The Festival and corresponding North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships will again blend art with competition. Carvers from across the country and Canada have been skillfully crafting life-size and miniature versions of waterfowl and other birds in hopes of capturing accolades in one of more than 16 carving categories, including the North Carolina state championship.
Another unique offering of the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival is the coordination and unveiling of the North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. The competition precedes the festival, but the original artwork will be unveiled and on display during the weekend.
Exhibitors and artists from near and far will have their unique artwork, from photography to bronze work to jewelry, on display and for sale. Additional venues, Kugler Field and the North Carolina Estuarium, will also be used to round out a full schedule of events and activities.
The North Carolina Estuarium will play a larger role in the festival this weekend. Typically the site of the children's decoy painting workshop, the Estuarium will offer additional programs and activities for children and families. Representatives from Sylvan Height Waterfowl Park will be on hand at the Estuarium to educate attendees about our native birds and some rare species of waterfowl. On Saturday with the purchase of a show ticket, children will be admitted for free to the Estuarium and adults for half price.
DockDogs, as seen on ESPN and the Outdoor Network, will be held at Kugler Field beginning on Friday morning, Feb. 8. Various competitions, including Big Air and Speed Retrieve, will challenge dogs of all species and provide a great source of entertainment for the audience.
An auction and seafood buffet will be held on Saturday night at the Washington Yacht and Country Club. This is an opportunity to see and purchase award winning decoys and meet and mingle with the carvers.
For more information about the 18th Annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and NC Decoy Carving Championships, visit www.ecwguild.com <http://www.ecwguild.com> or call 800-999-3857, ext. 2.