class=""MsoNormal"">SALISBURY, MD---The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, hosts its annual Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo. The event pays tribute to the decoys and decoy carvers of yesterday and today with a variety of waterfowling activities along with free admission to the museum throughout the weekend.
On Friday and Saturday, there is an open-air buy, sell, and trade market for antique decoys, collectible hunting items, folk art, and antique furniture, as well as contemporary hunting, fishing, and kayaking supplies. Bring old decoys for free identification and appraisal. A silent auction of old decoys is on Friday and Saturday in the education room of the Ward Museum. Final bid is accepted at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Chesapeake Challenge Shootin' Stool Competition is noon - 4 p.m. Saturday. The competition judges working decoys, placing them in the water to evaluate their qualities and usefulness for actual hunting. There are competitions for shorebird decoys, woodpeckers, and waterfowl silhouettes along with a new Youth Competition in floating decoys for ages 16 and under. Competition winners will be awarded ribbons and prize money.
A special competition for collectors of antique decoys, the "Old Birds" Antique Decoy Competition, is Saturday. The competition judges decoys made prior to 1950, giving winners an opportunity to walk away with $1,500 in prize money. Unlike the Shootin' Stool Competition, where the importance of the decoy is on its use as a hunting tool, the "Old Birds" contest judges decoys based on their historical value.
Other activities on Saturday include K-9 Search and Rescue demonstrations, Grill Master Cook-off, Target Shoot, Duck Head Carving Competition, and Hatchet Carving Demo. Barbecued chicken along with beer and other refreshments will be offered from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. An Eastern Shore Pig Roast catered by Whitey's Barbeque is 4 - 6 p.m. inside the museum's lobby and new pondside pavilion. Tickets for the Pig Roast are $15 and include beer and soda. They may be purchased in advance or at the door, but are limited. Door prizes at the pig roast are a $100 gift card from Gander Mountain, a gift from the Country Store, a gift card from Goin' Nuts Caf? and Brew River Restaurant.
Coinciding with the pig roast, the museum hosts an opening reception for its fall exhibit, "Illinois River Meets the Chesapeake." The exhibit features the decoy carving and waterfowling traditions of the Illinois River Watershed. On display are over 100 antique decoys by the most prominent decoy makers of that region. A 154-page color book, Masterworks of the Illinois River, is available. The book reviews the history and significance of the region's tradition of decoy carving.
On Saturday, the museum is raffling off a 1936 Bluebill Drake by Lem Ward. Tickets may be purchased at the gift shop at any time. The drawing is at 4 p.m.
Sunday is a special day to take advantage of the free admission to the museum and view the winners of the Chesapeake Challenge and Antique Decoy Competition. The museum hours for the festivities are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, contact the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art at 410-742 -4988, ext. 106 or visit the Ward Museum web site at www.wardmuseum.org. "