Best of East Coast Life: A Waterfowl Festival 50th Anniversary Trip Planner


November is one of the most beautiful months on the east coast of Maryland, when it’s cold in the air and the changing leaves show off a multitude of colors. All of this – and more – makes it the perfect time for one of the region’s oldest festivals.

The town of Easton, Maryland, hosts the Waterfowl Festival, an event that honors the thousands of geese and other migratory birds that cross the Atlantic Flyway each fall. Celebrate its 50e anniversary in 2021, the three-day event runs from November 12-14 and attracts more than 15,000 visitors.

Although it focuses on art, sportsmanship and conservation, the festival is fully integrated into Easton. The downtown streets are cordoned off to create a sprawling pedestrian mall, making it easy for you to stroll between event venues, local boutiques, art exhibitions, and bustling restaurants. There’s a lively vibe as families, couples, friends, and even dogs – lots of dogs – enjoy the best of the season.

Wild about art

Excellent animal art defines the Waterfowl Festival. Painters, sculptors, sculptors and photographers from across North America exhibit in five different locations, offering a chance to engage directly with the artists. Hundreds of works of art will be on sale, making this event a major attraction for art collectors, whether you are looking for bullion coins or unique holiday gifts for friends and family.

Plan to salute featured artist and premier animal sculptor Bart Walter, whose work can be found at the Washington, DC National Zoo and the Jane Goodall Institute in Arlington, Virginia. Like most of the festival artists, he will be present throughout the weekend, so you will have the opportunity to interact with him and discover his inspiration.

A new bronze piece that Walter created especially for the Waterfowl Festival, titled “Wind and Waves” will be on display, with casts of different sizes available for sale. And nothing makes Waterfowl honk more than taking a selfie in front of the spectacular bronze sculpture of a pair of geese with their hatchlings titled “A Family Affair” that Walter created for the 25e anniversary and now resides in front of the Waterfowl Building at 40 South Harrison Street.

Easton is a renowned arts hub, anchored in one of the finest little art museums on the East Coast, the Academy Art Museum, which this year will exhibit works of art produced by animal artists, as well as its own extraordinary collection. Stroll through the downtown galleries – and watch and talk with artists at work. Along your walk, count a stop in the verdant grounds of the Talbot County Courthouse, where a majestic bronze statue of the nearby American abolitionist hero Frederick Douglass stands as a sentry.

For the athlete

The festival’s extensive lineup means there is always something fun and engaging to do at the Waterfowl Festival. Hunting dog demonstrations are among the most popular weekend events, where hunting dogs respond to orders from their masters as they dive into a local pond, locate items and bring them back to shore, always ahead. an enthusiastic crowd.

Animal lovers will also want to compete in the North American Diving Dogs competition, a national competition where dogs put their paws to the test to see which dog can jump the furthest from a dock. The biggest event of the festival weekend is the World Championship Duck and Goose Calling Contests, where winners receive $ 12,000.

Crab, oysters and more

No visit to the East Coast is complete without experiencing the best that the Chesapeake Bay has to offer. Food vendors will serve Chesapeake Bay seafood in every way imaginable. Try local specialties such as the award-winning Shoreboys Cream of Crab, which you’ll find outside Easton Antiques on Harrison Street, and the freshly shelled oysters on the half-shell, sold on Washington Street near the courthouse.

At the festival’s wine tasting pavilion, $ 15 gets you unlimited small amounts, plus substantial tastings from local artisan vendors. And nearby, a beer garden serves regional craft beers and games, including the ever popular cornhole.

People watching is a must during the festival weekend. Discover a perfect perch at one of Easton’s acclaimed restaurants, many of which offer alfresco dining on their patios, porches, and sidewalks.

Along Harrison Street, try a sidewalk seat at Banning’s Tavern for elevated pub food, Legal Assets’ garden courtyard for bites to share, many with an Asian twist, or the large patio at Hunter’s Tavern, where they have been serving local specialties since 1949. On Washington Street, grab a table on the slate patio of Scossa, renowned for northern Italian cuisine, or sit by the window at The Wardroom, coveted for its cheese platters and a selection of international wines.

End your weekend tour with a treat at one of two local ice cream parlors in downtown Easton. Storm & Daughters is great for kids’ favorites, serving rainbow sherbets and towering waffle sundaes, while Bonheur appeals to a sophisticated palate with adult egg cream frozen treats including a apple and walnut pie garnished with bourbon.

Fun for all ages

Children under 10 can attend the festival for free and there are plenty of family activities that will keep your little ones entertained.

At the weekend’s Paint Your Own Lure event, kids can decorate miniature carved lures under the guidance of artisans. Budding fishermen can show off their skills at the kids fishing tournament. And young birders can watch raptors of all kinds alight for ‘worthy’ moments at the hands of an experienced falconer during the three days of the festival. Pro tip: Beeline to Christ Church at the intersection of South Street and South Harrison Street for fried goodies. Children – and children at heart – will not be disappointed!

Plan your stay

To attend the Waterfowl Festival, a three-day pass ($ 20) grants access to all sites, including bus transportation to and from satellite sites outside of downtown. Book your ticket on Waterfowl

There are countless opportunities to immerse yourself in the heart of downtown Easton. Stay at intimate bed and breakfasts like Hummingbird Inn, a Queen Anne mansion with dog sitting, and Bishop’s House, a romantic Victorian with cozy fireplaces in some rooms. Or settle into the city’s epicenter at the Tidewater Inn, a handsome brick hotel with a spa and restaurant. There are also a myriad of options in Talbot County, from short-term rentals and historic cabins to expansive waterfront estates. For a full list of accommodations, visit

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