Wildfowl Takes Center Stage In Resort This Weekend

OCEAN CITY — The 46th Annual Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival returns to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City April 22-24. Hours of the event are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The World Championship is an international event where carvers, collectors and visitors convene at the end of each April in Ocean City. From highly decorative works of art to functional hunting decoys, about 1,200 different wildfowl carvings representing more than 150 species from around the world can be viewed at the premiere, most prestigious competition in the world.

Competitors of all levels — from youth to world champions — compete against their peers for the chance to win a portion of nearly $60,000 in prize money as well as other recognition including ribbons, medallions, plaques and trophies. There are over 40 different divisions in which an artist can compete — decorative life-size and miniature wildfowl, floating waterfowl, interpretive, gunning decoys, contemporary antiques, sculpture, and for the this year’s competition, fish carving.

Attendees are invited to check out the seminars and classes by master carvers for artists of all skill levels.

They can also shop from a wide variety of vendors for fine art work, home decorating items, folk art, photography, jewelry, sporting goods or carving and art supplies; watch live birds of prey demonstrations; bid on one-of-a-kind carvings and artwork from renowned wildlife artists at the Saturday afternoon benefit auction; enjoy bird and pony watching on a sunset cruise on the bay; bring the children to Kid’s Corner to create fun make-and-take projects; and stroll the Boardwalk of the convention center while watching artfully carved decoys floating on the bay.

An annual feature at the event each year is the live benefit auction. The live auction will be held on Saturday, April 23 starting at 2 p.m. at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City.

The auction encompasses a variety of regional, national and international artists well-known within the wildfowl art community. The auction is being held in conjunction with the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival. Registration for the auction is free and open to the public.

Auction highlights include a preening Redhead drake by Tom Christie of Waverly, Iowa. Christie is a six-time Ward World champion carver in the shootin’ rig competition. Another highlight is a Blue-winged Teal pair by Gene Hebert of Houma, La., who is a Ward Museum National Endowment for the Arts “Carving Out Future Decoy Makers Master Carver”. Hebert has won numerous awards during his carving career. Also offered for bid will be a bronze sculpture “Sunning Otter” by David Turner of Onley, Va. David owns Turner Sculpture with his father, William Turner. David Turner was also recently announced as Easton Waterfowl Festival 2016 Featured Artist.

Over the weekend, the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, will recognize artists Del Herbert, Rich Smoker and Todd Wohlt with its 2016 Living Legend Award for 2016.

The award ceremony for this year’s Living Legends will be held in the Performing Arts Center at the Ocean City Convention Center Friday, April 22, at 5 p.m. The dinner will take place following the awards ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. at Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant in Ocean City.

The award highlights those who have been long-time advocates for wildfowl art and the Ward Museum. Winners are generous in spirit and commitment to teaching others and passing on their knowledge, skills and talents. They have created an impact on the field of wildfowl art and/or the Ward World Championship competition.