50th Waterfowl festival commemorated by Gov. Hogan, start of a new era

EASTON, Md. – A 50-year-old tradition brought back to life after a year and a half of uncertainty.

The famous Waterfowl festival brought thousands of people to the streets of downtown Easton, showing off Waterfowl art, tradition, and culture of the Eastern Shore, and promoting wildlife conservation.

“We don’t want to do our 50th festival unless we can do it the way we want to do it,” says a long-time resident, past festival president, chair committee, Hall of Famer, and volunteer, Hugh Dawkins.

Event organizers say, it truly takes a village with dozens of partnerships to bring the festival to life.

“It’s very designed by the community for the community with the community and that’s what makes it such a great vibe,” says Director of the Academy Art Museum, Sarah Jessie. Margaret Enloe-North, Executive Director of Waterfowl Festival adds, “And it makes it much more I think authentic to be in all of these locations downtown and work with our partners.”

“We really want to be a part of such an important community festival fact that it’s in its 50th year I think says so much,” says Jessie.

Organizers tell 47 ABC, the festival only continues every year because of the hundreds of volunteers that dedicate their time.

“What we try to do is to reflect what our attendees want to do,” says Dawkins. He adds, “That’s where the difference is made, our volunteers do all of the work.”

Meanwhile, sculptor and world-renowned artist, Bart Walter says he got his start in Easton when he was just a teenager. He tells us, the festival sparked his love for animals and nature decades ago, and his passion allowed him to showcase his love for nature through art. Now, Walter has returned as this year’s featured artist, to truly commemorate the 50th year.

“To see the continuity in the community spirit here in Easton,” says Walter. He adds, “I’ve sketched penguins in the Arctic, but I keep circling back to Maryland in the Eastern shore because it’s such a special place.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also paid a visit to the festival and commemorated the day with a citation to mark 50 years of what he calls, an ‘incredible’ event. He tells us, it shows how far Maryland has come over the past year.

“It’s just wonderful to see so many people out enjoying themselves and it kind of feels like we’re back to normal which is a great feeling,” says Governor Hogan. He adds, “I think it’s showing kind of a special slice of Americana right here on the Eastern shore of Maryland that you’re not going to find anywhere.”

However, now that the festival is back, we’re told it marks a new era for the town of Easton and the Eastern Shore.

“But I like to say that was the last festival of the last 50 years, the one that didn’t happen, this is the first festival of the next 50 years,” says Enloe-North.

We’re also told festival organizers are always looking to make more partnerships and get more volunteers for next year.

Categories: Local News, Maryland