An Autumn Afternoon at the 38th Annual Waterfowl Festival
If you’re into fried seafood, hand-carved decoys and the pleasures of small-town life then the 38th Annual Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland was the place to spend a leisurely autumn afternoon.
Easton is the heartbeat of Mid-Atlantic waterfowl country, and so it would only make sense that we’d run into Wes Lang, President of nearby Caesar Guerini, at Albright’s Gun Shop right in downtown.
Albright’s is a popular Caesar Guerini shotgun dealer. The store combines old-world enchantment with state-of-the-art firearms and accessories. Naturally, the store was jammed during the Waterfowl Festival.
We Run into Wes Lang
Amid the hubbub, we spoke with Wes for a while. He told us about exciting developments at the company in terms of expansion, new services and innovations with the Caesar Guerini family of shotguns. We’ll provide you with more details in the coming weeks.
Source: Caesar Guerini
The Caesar Guerini Magnus Shotgun
After catching up with Wes, we walked the quaint town, checking out the art and stuffing our faces with wonderful local seafood and Maryland wines (yes, Maryland does have a healthy wine industry).
Easton is a gathering place that attracts everyone from the generations of “watermen” to a thriving contingent of nouveau riche. That’s why you’ll find all kinds of establishments in historic downtown ranging from dingy bars to haute cuisine restaurants.
Easton, Maryland Redux
Some Shotgun Life readers may remember our story A Sporting Clays Paradise, in which we visited Easton for an overnight stay at the restored Tidewater Inn. We had set out with a bunch of shooting buddies to get in 300 rounds of sporting clays at three different courses in a 48-hour marathon. Between the spectacular shooting, wonderful dining and the camaraderie of good friends the trip remains memorable to this day.
So were eager to get back to Easton…
The 38th Annual Waterfowl Festival ran November 14-16. It serves as a fundraiser for local conservation. The first festival in 1971 raised $7,500. By comparison, last year’s event funneled $5 million into organizations for conservation, education and research in the Atlantic Flyways and Chesapeake Bay.
This year, we attended the first day of the festival on a foggy afternoon that contrasted with the brilliant autumn foliage throughout downtown.
A Robust History of Artifacts
Unlike similar communities across America, Easton never succumbed to the temptation that blighted historic business centers with the regrettable urban-renewal movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Downtown Easton maintained its pride in original architecture while remaining relevant to the ongoing needs of its changing population.
It’s a great walking town for exploring the different exhibit venues of the Waterfowl Festival, and to do some serious fried-seafood grazing in between.
The Armory, Christ Church, old Avalon Theater, Tidewater Inn, Elks Lodge and other public places, combined with local art galleries, provided one of the most impressive collections of wildlife art and photography on the East Coast.
The Easton High School Cafeteria held the Artifacts Exhibit, where you could trace the history of waterfowling from the mid 19th century. There were also private displays of decoys, guns and boats.
Stellar Hand-Carved Decoys
But it was the hand-carved duck decoys that were high on our agenda. We saw impressive works from craftsmen such as Reagan Danos of Lockport, Louisiana; Jack Cox from Camden, North Carolina; Del Herbert who flew in from Chula Vista, California; Russell Martin, Jr. of Chauvin, Louisiana; Stefane Bougie of Quebec, Canada; and Jamie Welsh of Simpsonville, South Carolina.
You may want to visit the Waterfowl Festival next year. If you can spare a few extra days, it would be a terrific opportunity for duck or goose hunting, sporting clays and a visit to the larger Caesar Guerini facilities.
Irwin Greenstein is publisher of Shotgun Life.