The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center celebrates its 25th anniversary this week. And what a celebration it is — and has been for 25 years and counting.

Founded by seven carvers —Curt Salter, James Salter, Wayne Davis, Norman Hancock, David Lawrence, Carl Huff and Gregory Lupton — who formed the Core Sound Decoy Carver’s Guild in 1986 and the Core Sound Decoy Festival in 1987, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center is testament to a dream. The carvers felt a waterfowl museum was necessary to preserve the heritage of a way of life in coastal North Carolina. Five years later the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum became a reality. Out of that vision and dream came the 22,000-square foot museum.

Today, the museum and heritage center “at the end of the road,” operates year round as a museum, educational facility, regional archive, meeting place for the Down East community and a destination for heritage tourism travelers, says the program heralding the anniversary.

Events begin Friday with a lunch in the museum at noon recognizing and remembering community leaders, major contributors, key partners, lifetime members and anniversary family and friends.

At 6 p.m. there will be a 25th anniversary gallery reception sponsored by Chadwick Tire Co. and BB&T Bank. Dedication of the Purcell and Helen Jones Heritage Gallery, honoring their legacy, occurs at 7 p.m. The Joneses were colossal contributors and movers and shakers for the museum and its construction.

At 7:30 p.m. the Core Sound Decoy Heritage documentary “Core Values,” produced by Robbie Smith, will be shown. Telling the history of old decoys used on Core Sound, when people depended on decoys, skiffs and shotguns and pluck for food and sometimes livelihood, it features Doily Fulcher and Jerry Talton, decoy collectors and historians, along with vintage footage of Homer Fulcher, a decoy carver in Stacy. Aerial shots show Core Sound during hunting season and, of course, Core Sound decoys over more than a century of waterfowling along Core Banks.

Saturday will be observed as Core Sound Community Day featuring a smorgasbord of arts and crafts, i.e., fine art, decoys, photography and model boats; antiques, i.e., waterfowling roadshow; science learning activities for all ages from partners such as the N.C. Coastal Federation, Crystal Coast Beekeepers, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Carteret County Wildlife Club and Mr. Woz, who will talk about pond invertebrates.

A variety of food including Core Sound shrimp burgers, hot dogs and hush puppies will be available, with traditional music in the background.

There will be competitions involving decoys and fishing, and other activities and the sponsors of the anniversary celebration will be recognized,

In addition to the parking at the museum, additional parking will be available at Capt. Henry’s store, where shuttles will bring people to the museum.

Many more activities are scheduled at the museum and heritage center, where a list can be obtained, for the remainder of the summer and on into the fall.

Lending itself to the interpretation of the unique history found Down East — comprised of 14 communities — the museum is a cultural center perpetuating traditional decoy making, as well as the hunt and preservation of waterfowl. “The need for preserving Down East history, honoring traditions and sharing our stories is more important than ever,” says the program. And it is.

It adds: “The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center is the tangible outcome of thousands of talented, generous people giving, working, believing in the value of Core Sound’s heritage — this place, our people and our way of life.”

Revel in the celebration of what countless Down East residents accomplished by preserving a way of life that was a nurturing, shining light for so many for a long, long time. What is displayed is a witness to their endurance and their determination to succeed. Which they did.

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