Georgetown’s Winyah Bay Heritage Festival offers an educational experience for youth while dressed in camouflage

  • Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 2:59 pm

Photo by Lloyd Mackall Carved wooden decoys were on sale in the Exhibition tent at the annual Winyah Bay Heritage Festival.


Called the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival, it lived up to its reputation last weekend as a celebration of history, recreation, conservation and beauty.

Ask the youngsters wearing green and black camouflaged jackets and shirts. It was a hands-on, educational experience for them.

This annual event benefits the Georgetown County Historical Society. It featured such items as art, jewelry, decoys and pluff mud gear, and focused on a variety of activities such as fishing, hunting and conservation.

Spectators saw jumping “dock” dogs, extreme vertical, children painting, youth duck calling clinic and contest, birds of prey, duck-calling state championship, Lowcountry critters and snakes and an imaginary turkey hunt.

Youth could use a bow and arrow in an archery range. Visitors witnessed wildlife taxidermy of native species, dog calls, virtual fishing and shooting simulator. Georgetown fishing guides demonstrated fly tying and antique fishing lures. There was a one-person kayak race from East Bay Park to the Harborwalk.

Birds of Prey were demonstrated on a special spectator-friendly stage by the Center for Birds of Prey of Awendaw. Meanwhile, volunteer Erin O’Neal Morie told about a British Owl in front of Prince George Framing Company.

The center gives insight into the lives of many birds, including eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, kites and vultures at its weekly Thursday, Friday and Saturday guided walking tours at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. with flight demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Dog jumping off a dock was a favorite spectator sport demonstrated by Palmetto Dock Dogs. A dog Bumper or retriever dummy training devices is thrown into the water and the dogs jump as far as 25 feet to retrieve their “prey.”

Dog bumpers originally came from boat bumpers — the rubber or plastic floats that keep a boat from bumping into the dock. Dog bumpers float, and the white or yellow bumpers are easy to see.

Palmetto Gun Dogs of Boykin featured demonstrations by Alan and Shannon Wooten and their children, Mac, age 9, and Blake, 7. The Wootens train “almost” every day and say they enjoy working with their dogs.

One dog, Honey, is a yellow female, age 11 months, who is working on her junior hunter certification. Another animal, a black dog, Cole, age 7, is a junior hunter and has hunted from Canada to Louisiana. The animals retrieved a bumper, which was shot by a bumper launcher about 100 yards toward Winyah Bay.

Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) had animal pelts on hand to help give a conservation message and emphasize wildlife training offered locally.

Academic Chair Brian J. Clark, Forestry Management Technology of HGTC, said this instruction is given in classrooms located south of Georgetown. Festival crowds were told that more than 92 per cent of these two-year college graduates are placed in jobs. HGTC student Dani Holbert greeted Festival visitors.

An imaginary turkey hunt was presented by John Tanner Calls, who with his wife Elaine Tanner showed turkey calls, duck calls and handmade pine straw baskets. They are appropriately located at 529 Wild Turkey Rd. in Hemingway.

Thomas Smoak’s art, “Turkeys Wild on the Waccamaw” was on display at the Big Tuna until the festival. It was auctioned off on Saturday. A McCellanville resident, he said through all his years as a welder, he would sketch scenes on steel while he worked.

Waccamaw RiverKeeper display showed how more than 55,000 acres are monitored and protected, including large sections of the Waccamaw and Great Pee Dee rivers and a small section of the Little Pee Dee River. It helps provide hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography and environmental education.

Paula Reidhaar is the Waccamaw Riverkeeper with Winyah Rivers Foundation. She graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Master’s Degree in Marine Science. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Indiana University.

Tideline Outfitters showed why they call themselves the home of the “Original Oyster Camouflage,” featuring t-shirts, hats and other original sporting attire and accessories. They said their goal is to create unique, durable apparel and provisions that would represent the traditions and lifestyle of the coast.

Birdfield Decoys and Bob Calhoun Decoys displayed and sold carved decoys, and Black River Trading Company of Pawleys Island featured custom wooden fishing rods, duck calls, knives and oyster knives.

Fair Chase had big game, wing shooting and shot gun new and out-of-print books, along with art, game plates and sporting antiques, and Frank Bridwell featured handmade knives with wooden handles.

In the Potters Hand had a unique pottery display, and Mountain Man Honey and Goods had an assortment of various local honey. It is based out of the Myrtle Beach Indoor Flea Market, Highway 17 Business.

Georgetown County Museum had a display of Jimmy Hortman’s custom wildlife taxidermy of Pawleys Island.

Tidal Scapes Photography featured the local scenes of professional photographer Anita Hinson, and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge had a wildlife conservation display.

Dave Lake had vintage hunting and fishing art, decoys, knives, lures and rods and reels, and Charleston Underground had jewelry and accessories made from antique shards found while excavating in the Charleston and Lowcountry area.

South Carolina Joggling Board Company showed their specially constructed and unique joggling boards, and Charleston Relics Artifactual Adornments showed how they are creators of items from recycling pieces of 17th, 18th, and 19th century ceramic and glass art that in some instances were discarded over 360 years ago.

RNT Duck Calls demonstrated “Rich N Tone” duck calls, and Asher Robinson displayed rustic sport fish art.


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