Thousands of people will gather in Easton this weekend for the 43rd Annual Waterfowl Festival, a highly celebrated Eastern Shore event that includes retriever, birds-of-prey and fly-fishing demonstrations, the Delmarva Dock Dog competition, a wine and tasting pavilion and a sportsman pavilion. The Waterfowl Festival offers something for all ages and all interests, with artwork, contests, exhibits and more. If you haven’t been to Easton lately, now is your chance – it’s “a small town celebration with a commitment to conservation.”

The Waterfowl Festival got its start in 1970 when a group of Eastern Shore sportsmen and women envisioned an event that would spotlight their Eastern Shore heritage. At the time, concerns over a rapidly developing Eastern Shore led a group of ambitious area enthusiasts and organizations to raise money for the first Waterfowl Festival. Original hopes that the event would grow into something extraordinary have certainly been realized over the past 43 years, with an annual economic impact to the area of nearly $6 million. In addition, the nonprofit organization’s benefits have grown from initial proceeds of $7500 donated to Ducks Unlimited to a total of more than $5 million in conservation grants to hundreds of projects by more than fifty organizations.

The Festival spans the town of Easton, with more than a dozen venues, and lasts from November 8 through November 10. Tickets are $12 per person for all three days – children under 10 are free. Tickets are available both online and on site during the festival.

The list of events and activities is extensive, so we’ve selected a few of our favorites. For a more comprehensive list, visit:

Dock Dogs Competition

The Waterfowl Festival partners with the Delmarva Dock Dogs for the highly anticipated annual event at Idlewild Park. Dog after dog will race down the dock, leaping off into a pool of water. The dog that remains airborne the farthest or the highest is crowned champion(s). The nationally sanctioned competition welcomes all breeds.

Retriever Demonstrations

The highly trained and intelligent dogs competing in the Retriever Demonstrations never cease to amaze. The exceptionally skilled canines show off by leaping into the pond to fetch a thrown or hidden dummy.

Calling Contest

Each year, the best callers in the world converge on the Waterfowl Festival to compete for top honors. This is a top event every year, with typical audience sizes topping 600 people. Goose and duck callers, from novice to master, journey from over 16 states and Canada to compete for the coveted titles.

Kids’ Fishing Derby

With the help of the Mid-Shore Chapter of the Maryland Coastal Conservation Association, kids have the chance for a day full of fishing fun. The organizations’ volunteers are on-site to show children how to cast and reel in their own line. While any fish caught are thrown back, each kid takes home a certificate and a photo of their catch.

Wine & Beer Tasting Pavilion

Take a break from all of the events, exhibits and activities by celebrating our regional vintners, brewers and producers of gourmet items. Wine, beers, cheese, sweets and other goodies are available at the Pavilion.