OCEAN CITY — For more than 40 years, talented artists from the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia have convened in Ocean City to showcase their carving skills at he Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival.
The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, once again hosts the event at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City from Friday-Sunday. On display will be more than 1,400 wildfowl carvings, many of which are created by the world’s best artists, naturalists and authors.
These spectacular birds, which are coveted by celebrities and avid collectors alike, mimic wildfowl species such as red tail hawks, bald eagles, saw whet owls, wood ducks and thousands of wildfowl species from around the world. Competitors of all levels of experience, from youth to world champions, compete against their peers for top honors, including cash awards and the world champion’s carving on display in the Ward Museum for one year.
This year, the competition introduces a new Silhouette Division for young competitors. Each entry must be a life-size replica and made of wood one-inch thick or less. World champion carver Del Herbert of Chula Vista, Calif., hopes this new division will encourage the next generation of carvers.
“The Silhouette Division gives young people a simple project to complete, which will allow them to become involved in carving and learn the fun of competition. That’s one of the great things that the Ward Museum has been doing in the last few years–putting a lot of emphasis on youth involvement,” he said.
In addition to viewing the plethora of fine carvings and sculptures, visitors also may purchase paintings, photography, carvings, bronze sculptures, jewelry, folk art, home decorating items and carving supplies from more than 100 vendors who will be on site.
For the avid decoy collector, or anyone who wants to begin their own collection, Saturday’s auction is a great place to bid on original carvings by top artists from around the world. There will also be a silent auction for the two winning carvings from the Champagne Waterfowl Division.
Activities for children are plentiful at the Kids Corner and include creating soap carvings, carving feathers using power tools, receiving instruction from a world champion carver and decoy painting, among others.
Show hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday April 29, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 30, with the awards ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. On Sunday, May 1, show hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, children 12 and under are free. Three-day passes to the event are available for $18.