Ocean County Press Release
TUCKERTON – Ocean County residents and Decoy and Gunning Show aficionados are invited to tune into a virtual 38th annual Old Time Barnegat Bay Decoy and Gunning Show during the weekend of Sept. 26 and 27.

Noting that the County doesn't want to miss a year but had to make some safety changes due to COVID 19, the virtual show which will include old and new clips of the annual event can be seen on Facebook, local cable and YouTube.

"The Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation staff, especially those involved in this event, went above and beyond in putting together a virtual show that will provide all the highlights of the in-person event and some of its history," said Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, Chairwoman of Parks and Recreation. "I encourage everyone to watch. I think you will enjoy what we have to offer."

The Old Time Barnegat Bay Decoy and Gunning Show normally attracts thousands of people during the two day event at Tip Seaman County Park in Tuckerton.

"Because of safety concerns resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, we will not be holding the in-person show this year but will bring some of the annual highlights to the public virtually," Haines said. "This allows us to continue to promote and recognize the traditions of the baymen. We will bring to the public through social media and local cable television a great learning experience for those who are unaware of the rich traditions of the men and women who once earned their livelihoods from our local waters and surrounding lands."

Throughout the weekend, videos both old and new will be available virtually. Programs including interviews with decoy collectors, highlights from past decoy shows and videos on the history of decoy heritage will available on the Ocean County Parks' Facebook (@OceanCountyParks) and YouTube pages, as well as Ocean TV-20 on Comcast Cable. The television program scheduling will be available at https://www.ocean.edu/community/tv-program-guide/.

In addition, all the past stories of the decoy program can be found at http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/ch/frmDecoyStories.aspx.

Non-public judging held on Sept. 19 will also be shown online for the following 2020 contest categories: Barnegat Bay Gunny Decoy – Traditional; Barnegat Bay Gunning Decoy – Contemporary; Delaware River Gunning Decoy; Traditional Shorebird; Youth Gunning Decoy, and Youth Shorebird.

More than 140 entries were received and judged.

Other awards normally presented at the show, including the highlight of the award presentation, The Hurley Conklin Award, which is awarded to individuals who have lived their lives in the traditions preserved by the show, will be delayed to the 2021 show.

"The award presentation marks the culmination of every show and highlights the best of the best of the Barnegat Bay traditions," Haines said. "Even though we will not be gathered at the park to present the awards, we will recognize these winners virtually as we honor the heritage and tradition that comes from Barnegat Bay."

The Old Time Barnegat Bay Decoy and Gunning Show began in 1983 with members of the New Jersey Decoy Collectors Association who wanted to have a tailgate swap and picnic at Tip Seaman County Park. Today, the show has grown to take place at both Tip Seaman County Park and The Tuckerton Seaport.

"Over time, the traditions of the show have remained the same and we continue to pass these skills down to the younger generations," Haines said. "The coronavirus will not prevent us from continuing to preserve this history and we hope everyone will join us online this year."
Next year's show is scheduled for Sept. 25 and 26, 2021.

"Ocean County residents and visitors look forward to the summer shoulder season and the events that are usually scheduled during these weeks," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, liaison to tourism. "Because of the coronavirus pandemic many event coordinators have turned to innovative ways to reinvent their programs during the coronavirus pandemic, and the Old Time Barnegat Bay Decoy and Gunning Show is a great example as to how to move into a virtual setting."

For more details on this year's virtual show, visit www.OceanCountyParks.org or call 609-971-3085.

"We hope you will join us virtually this year and look forward to seeing you again in-person for the 2021 show," Haines said.

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