By Konstantine Fekos
Foul weather failed to discourage fowl enthusiasts who packed the halls and gymnasiums of Conneaut Area Senior High School for the 32nd annual Pymatuning Waterfowl & Outdoor Expo on Saturday afternoon.
The event featured several traditional contests and auctions as well as hunting and trapping seminars, all sponsored by wetland conservationist group Ducks Unlimited.
“It’s a great event,” said Paul Claypool, long-time member of Ducks Unlimited. “It makes a lot of money for ducks, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Although the rain canceled a few outdoor events, the expo still draws at least 2,500 people each year, according to Rich Guiney, expo chairman.
“This is (one of) the biggest outdoor events in Crawford County,” hey said. “We’ve grown so much. We’ve expanded throughout the school and we hope to keep going.”
More than 80 vendors lined the school’s walls, many of which donated auction items, including various artworks, hunting equipment and more.
New this year is the two-man duck and goose calling contest, an expansion upon the former one-man event, one of the expo’s largest and well-attended competitions.
“We have a really good time in here,” said Dr. Norm Kanieski, field ornithologist and world-class bird carver, who’s participated in the expo for more than a decade.
Kanieski has been a contestant, judge and vendor of his own wares, which include colored, life-like, scale model sculptures of songbirds, waterfowl and more.
“These people are down to earth and they treat you right,” he said of the expo’s volunteers and organizers. “That’s what keeps me coming back. Anything you need, they’re here to help.”
“He’s a very interesting individual,” Guiney said. “He’s known all over the world for his works, but he always chooses to come here and support us. We’re grateful to have him.”
In the end, both men support the event’s ultimate cause — wildlife preservation.
“That’s were the money goes,” Guiney said. “I always stress that the bucks are for ducks.”
Ducks Unlimited has been able to support the restoration of over 600 acres of local wetlands, according to Guiney.
“We’re one of the stops on the Atlantic Flyway,” he said. “That’s a big deal.”
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can go
Today’s events will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Conneaut Area Senior High School, 302 W. School Drive, Linesville.
Exhibits open — 9 a.m.
Pymatuning regional duck/goose calling contest — 11 a.m.