Easton goes wild for 24th annual Waterfowl Festival


The Eastern Shore town of Easton will be in the spotlight this week as tourists arrive for the 24th annual Waterfowl Festival from Friday through Nov. 13.

Considered one of the best expositions of its kind in the world, the festival brings some 20,000 wildlife enthusiasts to Easton each year to shop or browse among the wildlife art, carvings and collector items and to enjoy the demonstrations, street musicians, Eastern Shore seafood and fall color.

Since its founding in 1971, the festival has donated nearly $3 million to waterfowl conservation. This year, more than 500 artists from around the world will exhibit paintings, carvings and sculptures in 18 locations around Easton. Free shuttle buses will transport visitors between sites. In addition, there are workshops, lectures, retriever demonstrations, shooting demonstrations and calling contests. One of the big draws is the annual decoy auction, where collectors can bid on both antique and contemporary decoys. The auction takes place Saturday at 2 p.m. at Easton High School.

Also on Saturday are the World Championship Goose Calling Contest and the Mason-Dixon Regional Duck Calling Contest at 7 p.m. All three days, you can watch retriever demonstrations at the ponds on Bay Street, scheduled at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The dogs work in simulated field conditions. Festival ticket-holders can also attend shooting demonstrations at the Talbot Rod and Gun Club on Old Chapel Road near Easton. Two marksmen will perform there on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10 a.m.

Lectures on photography, decoy collecting, waterfowl conservation and other wildlife topics will be given Friday and Saturday at the Avalon Theatre. As a complement to the festival, the Academy of the Arts at 106 South Street presents "The Art of John James Audubon." The exhibit opens at 10 a.m. daily and remains on view through November.

A waterfowl cruise, sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; a second cruise is planned Nov. 19. Tickets cost $20 for museum members; $25 for non-members. Reservations are suggested. Call (410) 745-2916 and ask for the education department.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. A $10 admission ticket is good for all three days; free for children 14 and under accompanied by an adult. For information, call (410) 822-4567.

Thanksgiving in Virginia

The Virginia Thanksgiving Festival commemorates America's first Thanksgiving, held by Colonists Dec. 4, 1619, after landing on the banks of the James River. It precedes the Pilgrim's celebration in Massachusetts by two years.

The festival is scheduled today at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County, Va., site of the original celebration. Gates open at 11 a.m. for a day of activities that include living-history interpretations of life in Colonial Virginia, American-Indian dancers, a magic show, a puppeteer and children's games. Highlight of the event will be a narrated re-enactment of the landing, at 1:30 p.m. Food will be sold on the grounds.

Admission is $8.50 for adults; $2 for ages 12 and under. Berkeley Plantation is on state Route 5 in Charles City County between Richmond and Williamsburg, Va. Call (804) 272-3226.

Pennsylvania races

Today marks the 60th running of the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup Races in Unionville, Pa. Here the country's leading steeplechase horses and riders will compete in three races.

Gates open at 11 a.m., and festivities begin at noon with two pony races. Pre-race activities continue with a carriage parade and antique-car display. There is also a $1,500 Canine Puissance Jumping Competition open to all breeds. Small, medium and large dogs will compete, and a prize will be awarded to the dog that jumps highest in each division. Registration fee is $20.

Visitors can bring their own tailgate picnic or buy food on the grounds. General admission is $20 per person or $50 per carload. Proceeds benefit the New Bolton Center, the rural campus of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, devoted to the care of large animals.

The races are run on private property on Newark Road between state routes 926 and 842. Take U.S. Route 1 to the Toughkenamon exit and turn north on Newark Road. Call (610) 347-0432.

Craft show

Recognized as the finest exhibition and sale of American crafts in the United States, the Philadelphia Craft Show presents the work of 185 crafts people from all over the country. The exhibition opens on Thursday and runs through Nov. 13 at a new location this year -- the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets.

Sponsored by the Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition is the museum's single largest fund-raising event of the year. Baskets, ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, and leather are among the various categories. Many

of the artists have sold their pieces to major museums, and recently the White House Collection has acquired several works by artists who regularly participate in the exhibition. Demonstrations by craft artists are scheduled several times each day.

Hours are 11 a.m to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults; $3.50 for children 12 and under. Call (215) 684-7860.

Gift show

Each year, in early November, the small southern Pennsylvania town of Fairfield becomes a mecca for shoppers. They come from all around the region and from as far as New York and Connecticut to attend the three-day International Gift Festival, sponsored by the Fairfield Mennonite Church, Thursday Saturday.

For 33 years the sale has helped provide a marketplace for artisans from Third World countries. All the money raised from the festival goes to SELF-HELP Crafts, a job-creation program of the Mennonite Central Committee, designed to help some of the world's most economically disadvantaged people become self-sufficient.

The church is transformed into an international bazaar with more VTC than 1,000 handcrafted items for sale, including ceramics, jewelry, wood carvings and baskets. A rug weaver from Pakistan will bring a selection of Oriental rugs and demonstrate the art of rug making.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. The church is at 201 W. Main St. (state Route 116) in Fairfield, just eight miles west of Gettysburg, Pa. Call (717) 642-5440.

Children's activities

"Splendid Entertainments" will be offered to children between the ages of 8 and 15 at Gunston Hall Plantation in Lorton, Va., Nov. 13. There are two sessions: 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4.30. p.m.

Marcy Wright, dance mistress in Colonial Williamsburg, will instruct children in 18th-century dances and games. Among the latter are nine men's morris, a game to sharpen your mind; skittles, a precursor to bowling; and blindman's buff.

The cost is $6, and registration is required by Thursday. Gunston Hall is south of Washington off I-95 at the Lorton exit. Call (703) 550-9220.

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