Tuckerton — The 37th annual Ocean County Decoy and Waterfowling Show is Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29, at two venues: Tip Seaman County Park and the Tuckerton Seaport, both in Tuckerton. This year the show has changed its name from Decoy and Gunning Show so it’s not confused with a gun show.
Show coordinator German Georgieff said gunning is a local term for duck-hunting, whereas outdoorsmen from all parts understand waterfowling. So it’s a new name, but still one of the best events dedicated to the art of decoys and the sport of hunting. There is literally something for everyone: decoys, dogs, boats, wildlife art, wildlife carvings, gunning supplies, antique fishing and hunting paraphernalia, duck and goose calls, clothing, carving supplies and decoy/boat lumber.
Over 300 exhibitors and vendors offer all things for outdoorsmen and women. More than 50 contests and seminars will be held at the show sites during two action-packed days. At Tip Seaman Park on Saturday the contests start at 7 a.m. with women’s skeetshooting from a sneakbox, and continue all day until 5 p.m. Contests of skill include retriever contests and duck and goose calling plus archery and decorative arts.
At the Tuckerton Seaport, the Delmarva Dock Dog Diving contests go from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday – that’s a lot of splashing.
Also on Saturday, the Seaport offers free boat rides up (and down) the Tuckerton Creek on the hour, starting at 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admission to the Seaport is free both days of the show.
Back at the park, don’t miss the adult New Jersey Duck and Goose Calling contests at 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Saturday and youth contest from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. That’s a lot of birdcalls. The adult winner will represent New Jersey at the world championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas, in November.
Twelve food vendors from various local churches and organizations will be in the park offering clams and oysters on the half shell, shrimp, clam chowder, chicken, roast beef sandwiches, hamburgers and lots more. There also will be cold soda, pretzels and ice cream.
Music by Gary Strucius and Debbie Lawson and the Basement Musicians serenade the diners in the park with down-home music and favorite oldies.
Don’t forget the Hurley Conklin Awards ceremony wraps up the show on Sunday at 3:30 in the park. This year’s winners are clammer and duck-hunting guide Joe Rizzo from Cedar Run, decoy carver extraordinaire Dick Jensen from Mud City and Atlantic County boat builder Bill Simonson.
Free shuttle buses serve both venues from the Pinelands Regional High School parking lot on Nugentown Road and the Ocean County Freedom Fields Park on Route 539.
The show is a great family event, with activities for all age groups – and bring your well-behaved dog. It’s a great place for people and dog watching.
— Pat Johnson