About the Guild

The Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild is dedicated to the preservation of the waterfowl carving heritage that runs deep through the history of the Core Sound area in North Carolina. Our celebrated past is defined by many aspects beyond the art of carving decoys. People, decoys, duck calls, artists, photographers, folklore, and collectors are but a few of the many aspects of the Core Sound Decoy Carving heritage that make up the guild.

It is our mission to safeguard and preserve the memory of those pioneers who helped define the Core Sound decoy carving heritage by offering an honest view of the past, while increasing awareness and appreciation of waterfowl, and providing demonstrations and workshops so that the decoy carving heritage will continue on to the next generation.

The mission of the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild includes the following:

  • To document the history of decoy making and its development as a folk art form.
  • To increase awareness and appreciation of waterfowl and the need for protection of its natural habitat.
  • To provide demonstrations of traditional decoy making through workshops, classes and daily demonstrations.
  • To bring to this area decoy carvers, collectors, artists, photographers and waterfowl writers from other waterfowl regions of the United States.
  • To develop educational youth outreach programs.
  • To provide an annual decoy festival thereby presenting a showcase of decoy carving and wildfowl related art.

Davis Springle, President
Jerry Talton, Vice President
June Bryan, Treasurer
Gail Gerringer, Secretary

Rusty Bryan
Wayne Davis
Joe Fulcher, Jr.
James Morton
Casey Arthur
Steve Hamilton
James Lewis
Jason Michels
Rodney Baker
Ken Brennan


News and Events

Decoy Festival

Harkers Island comes to life the first full weekend in December each year as the Core Sound Decoy Guild holds its annual Core Sound Decoy Festival. The first festival was held in 1988 and it has become an annual pilgrimage for many.


The festival has many attractions that include antique decoy exhibits, retriever demonstrations, and several types of competitions including decoys, shorebirds, head whittling. There’s always delicious food offered by Harkers Island Elementary School staff and volunteers, and plenty of shopping opportunities from the many vendors who flock to the festival each year.



The Festival schedule is your one-stop location for the complete list of what’s happening on Decoy Festival weekend at Harkers Island Elementary School!




Youth 17 and under get free admission to the Festival on Youth Day, but that’s only where the fun begins! There are special Door Prizes and a host of great events like Kids Decoy Painting, Archery, Youth Decoy Competitions, and more to keep ’em busy!




There’s only one way on and one way off of Harkers Island, but you gotta know where you’re going to get to that bridge that gets you there. This Google Map will do the trick.

(The Annual Core Sound Decoy Festival is held at Harkers Island Elementary School, located at 1163 Island Road, Harkers Island, NC)



You’ll find everything you need to join in on the decoy and carving competitions right here.




Competition results are posted here as soon as they become available following the festival activities.





Interested in becoming an exhibitor/vendor at the Core Sound Decoy Festival? Please fill out the application and we’ll be in touch.


Featured Carver

Kelley Nelson

The 2024 Featured Carver is Kelley Nelson from Morehead City, NC, and the featured bird is the Tundra Swan.



Kids Programs

Throughout the year on the third Saturday of most months you will find Guild members working with budding decoy carvers and painters at the Guild workshop. From 10 am to 12 pm, youngsters from ages 7 to 15 gather to learn how to carve and paint ducks and shorebirds. There is no Kids Carving in December.

To pre-register, call Dr. Stan Rule at 252-241-1523. Please pre-register so we know how many kids to plan on!

Guild members who wish to volunteer to help with these sessions, please contact Stan Rule at 252-241-1523.  Volunteers are always needed, so please make plans to join us for just a few hours on A Kids Carving Saturday!

The Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild partners with the Down East Public Library each summer to participate in the Children’s Summer Reading Program, which offers a variety of fun activities for kids throughout June and July.  During the program, Guild volunteers share information about the selected bird and the kids are able to paint a wooden shorebird to take home.  It’s a great opportunity to share some of the history and heritage of Core Sound!

The Guild most recently visited the library on July 11th and presented a program on dowitcher shorebirds.  The children did a fantastic job painting their birds!

For more information on the Down East Public Library and the Children’s Summer Reading program, please call the library directly at 252-728-1333.

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