On Friday morning, the Waterfowl Festival was a recipient of one of five Community Impact Awards presented during the 2021 Virtual Business Appreciation Summit, an event hosted by the Talbot County Office of Economic Development and Tourism that celebrated the strength and resiliency of area businesses.
“We are so pleased to have been recognized in this way, especially during our 50th Festival year,” says Kevin Greaney, Waterfowl Festival Board President. “Credit for the Festival’s continued success really comes from the incredible community we live in and everyone’s commitment to keeping us going! It’s the support of hundreds of volunteers, vendors and artists, the commitments from our business and corporate sponsors, and the spirit of Talbot County that makes it all work!”
The Waterfowl Festival is valuable to the County in both an economic and a cultural sense. The “Economic Impact and Quality of Life Study of the Waterfowl Festival” released this past January illustrates that the shopping, lodging and dining during the weekend by Festival visitors results in a $2.6million economic impact for Talbot County. Almost $500,000 of that total impact comes from Waterfowl Festival itself, which focuses on spending operations dollars locally to create the annual event. All these figures are remarkable for a one-a-year, three-day festival of its size.
The study also highlights things that local residents and visitors value about the Waterfowl Festival. Most residents recognize the crucial role the Festival plays in keeping traditions alive and believe it is “very important or essential” to showcasing local culture and heritage, uniting the community toward a common goal, and igniting a sense of community pride. Visitors are incredibly dedicated guests who return year after year and who are avid promoters of all the Festival, Easton and the County have to offer.
Finally, while the Festival event may be what everyone knows, Waterfowl Chesapeake, Inc. and Waterfowl Festival, Inc., partner non-profit organizations, have invested nearly $4 million in habitat conservation, more than $1.2 million in education, and more than $26,000 in wildlife research initiatives over the past 50 years.
“It is an honor to be recognized by our County and business leaders in this way,” said Executive Director Margaret Enloe. “The arts and our region’s traditions are essential to our community’s health, appeal and our way of life and the Festival is certainly woven into our history. After fifty years, I think I can say we are here to stay. After all, if we learned nothing else in the last year, we now know that it takes something the scale of a global pandemic to stop us from having a Waterfowl Festival. We look forward to seeing everyone for our 50th in November!”