Sometimes you have to shake things up. At least, that was the thinking of the organizers of the Chestertown Wildlife Exhibition & Sale, a local non-profit organization working in the field of wildlife and environmental preservation. This year’s 33rd Annual Exhibition & Sale reflects that thinking from start to finish, with a free-admission event that opens with the sounds of Bird Dog and the Road Kings and ends with a full day of activities accompanied by the magnificent sound of duck and goose callers.
Where Friday evening used to begin with a Preview Party, the Show now kicks off with a Grand Opening Shucker’s Ball in Fountain Park, Friday, October 19, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. A tribute to Eastern Shore heritage and music, the Ball is a feast of oysters and champagne with the homegrown sounds of Bird Dog and the Road Kings crooning tunes for toe tapping and dancing. The Ball announces the opening of the exhibition of works of decoy carvers, painters, photographers, ceramicists and artists exhibiting throughout downtown.
“We wanted to offer people a Show that was not just a niche for collectors and fine art, but one that was really fun to attend, and reflected the unique heritage and environment of our little corner of the Shore and all we have to offer”, said Event Coordinator Marilyn Klompus. “We are a small show where it’s easy to see and participate in everything – for everyone from art lovers to families. And with all the talent and natural resources we have right here where we live it made sense for the Show to really highlight those.”
“The return of the Maryland State Calling Competition and the addition of the Eastern Shore Open Calling Contest is really a wonderful thing,” said Klompus. “Some of these folks will be competing to go to the World’s Contest , so we’re really bringing the best of the best here. This is such a huge part of Eastern Shore heritage – the opportunity to see it happen here is fantastic.” And with a Juniors competition as part of the event, local youngsters can get their chance at fame as well.
Exhibition favorites will return to entertain show-goers. The live raptors from Raptor’s Eye, dedicated to environmental education with an emphasis on the importance of raptors to humans and the health of the Chesapeake Bay, are always a hit with kids and adults, as are the folks from the Maryland Wood Duck Initiative who are happy to lend you a hammer to build nesting boxes for this native species.
Artist talks and demonstrations are featured throughout the day, and artists are always happy to discuss their work and technique. From Kent County decoy carver Duke Johnston to Chestertown furniture maker Bob Ortiz, there’s ample opportunity to see artists at work. Featured Artist W. Robert Tolley of Cambridge, Maryland, whose painting “Patient Fisherman” was selected as the Show’s signature image, is not only a long-time exhibitor at the Show, he has also been named 2012 Artist of the Year for The Grand National Waterfowl Assoc., Inc. The show also has a new logo which formally states its focus on Eastern Shore environment and heritage, designed by artist Mary Lou Troutman, another long-time exhibitor.
The Regional Food Court offers up crab cakes, fried fish, funnel cakes, sweet tea, pulled pork & brisket, plus staples like hot dogs, sausage and wings. And adding to the culinary choices is the Soup Sale featuring soups donated by local restaurants to support the show, with the popular Cream of Crab, Crab Vegetable, Italian Wedding and Chicken Dumpling Soups making the perfect menu for a Fall festival.
Also returning is the Wine & Beer Tasting, under the direction of Chestertown’s Pete Brocker of Play It Again Sam, bringing his expertise from years as a wine buyer and salesman. The Tasting, features varietals from around the world with a One Grape – Three Tastes theme: Chardonnay from 3 different regions, Sauvignon Blanc from 3 areas, and Cabernet from 3. There will be a selection of intriguing beers to sample as well.
Admission to the exhibitions and show activities is free; Shucker’s Ball oysters and drinks ($25 for half a dozen oysters raw or broiled, and two drinks – champagne, wine or beer) may be reserved in advance at www.chestertownwildlife.org or by calling 410-810-4898. Tickets for the Wine & Beer Tasting are $20 and may be reserved in advance at www.chestertownwildlife.org or by calling 410-810-4898 or purchased on site.
Complete details and schedule of events can be found at www.chestertownwildlife.org.
Friday, October19, 2012
Shuckers’ Ball 5:30-8:30 pm
Exhibits open 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Saturday, October 20, 2012
9 am – 4 pm