In a few weeks, one of the most successful public events in Maryland was scheduled to take place in Easton, and it was going to be a particularly important one. On November 13, the Waterfowl Festival had plans to not only once again be the host for thousands of visitors from all parts of the United States but would have celebrated its 50th year in honoring some of the best traditions of life on the Eastern Shore.
Over those fifty years, Waterfowl has not only become the iconic event that celebrates the arrival of Fall but a great economic development engine that last year piped in over $2.7 million into the local economy with all profits designed to support local conservation efforts.
But like every other small and major special event in America, the 2020 Waterfowl Weekend was canceled in June as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. As Margaret Enloe, director of Waterfowl Chesapeake, notes in her interview with the Spy, it was the hardest decision her board has ever had to make and left attendees and volunteers alike gutted by the disappearance of this beloved celebration.
Faced with the reality of their primary annual event being canceled, Waterfowl Chesapeake’s leaders found themselves in uncharted waters with what to to do during this gap year. But in no time at all, they quickly rebounded with new ideas that would keep the spirit of Waterfowl alive.
The first was to finally put into place a long-delayed plan to host many of the festival’s most popular artists on a new website. And the other new development was partnering with local businesses and arts organizations to start a new tradition called CommUNITY Days, which will take place on the same weekend as the original Waterfowl, but with strict safety measures where families can still enjoy Easton and all it has to offer.
The pandemic’s possible silver lining for Waterfowl is that it has given Margaret and the organization to start thinking out of the box for what the annual event will look like in the future. She discusses this transition in our interview that took place a few days ago at the Spy studio.
This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Waterfowl Chesapeake and CommUNITY Days please go here.