EASTON — It’s official: The Waterfowl Festival weekend has begun in Easton.

Mayor Robert Willey declared it officially open during formal ceremonies at the Avalon Theatre Thursday afternoon, Nov. 7, before a gala preview night began for art lovers and collectors.

Three longtime supporters were inducted into the Waterfowl Festival Hall of Fame.

Inductee Donnie Satchell has been chairman of Buy, Sell, Swap since 2005 and has been a volunteer for more than 30 years.

“Every year, he seeks out and attracts about 80 high-quality exhibitors,” said Kevin Greaney, president of the Waterfowl Festival.

Greaney said Satchell has donated countless hours in building maintenance and repairs, saving the Festival money.

Satchell said it was a lot of fun to volunteer for the Festival and everyone was like family.

The Shriver family was inducted into the Hall of Fame for their continual commitment to the Waterfowl Festival, even though the family patriarch Samuel Shriver, who loved and supported the Festival, died more than a decade ago. Sam Shriver always showed up with his dogs to participate in the retriever demonstrations.

The family funded the purchase of the Bay Street Ponds for each year and established the Samuel Shriver Fund.

Shriver’s wife Margo Shriver, daughter Eleanor Shriver Magee and grandson Timothy Magee were present to accept the induction.

Mike Veasey was inducted into the Waterfowl Festival Hall of Fame. Veasey has been supervisor of the Festival Gift Shop and has supervised its set-up and take-down each year. He served on the Festival board twice and has served as auctioneer in various capacities.

“I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent volunteering for the festival these many years,” Veasey said. “And I would really like to take this opportunity to thank my wife, because if it wasn’t for her, I would not be the super volunteer that I was.”

Nancy Tankersley was all smiles when she stepped up to the podium as this year’s featured artist. Her painting of a waterman tonging for oysters graces the official Waterfowl Festival guide book.

Tankersley said when she came to Talbot County, she never would have imagined she would ever be the festival’s featured artist.

She thanked the waterman who allowed her to paint him while he was tonging.

Waterman Robbie Bowman of Tilghman was up in the theater’s balcony during the ceremony but came down to be on stage later for pictures with Tankersley.

The 2019 Federal Duck Stamp winner was introduced.

Eddie LeRoy of Eufaula, Ala., said he could not believe he had won, and he did not answer the phone at first because he was helping to fix a friend’s tractor.

LeRoy said he won one time before — more than 25 years ago. He said Easton still is the pleasant place he remembered from way back then.

This year, for the first time, the Festival has become the location of the Maryland Migratory Bird Stamp Competition. The competition is set up in the lobby of the armory, Waterfowl Festival Headquarters on Harrison Street, and visitors may vote for their favorite artwork.

Exhibitors celebrating 25 years were honored Thursday evening. They included Patrick and Jeannie Vincenti of Buy, Sell, Swap; Henry Stansbury of Walsh Artifacts; John Day of Buy, Sell, Swap; Barbara Gehrm of Walsh Artifacts; Gene Hebert of Carving; and John Walls Jr. of Buy, Sell, Swap.

Volunteers serving 25 years also were honored. They included Kim Newcomb, Bill Frost, Kathy Bernard, Lisa Baynard, Donna Harrison, William Jackson, Bruce E. Perry, Dave Renshaw, Marie Teat and Michael Weise.

Check out all the events, artwork, food, entertainment and fun at WaterfowlFestival.org.

Follow me on Twitter @chrisp_stardem. Email me at cpolk@stardem.com.

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