The first Rappahannock River Waterfowl Show was held on March 1, 1980 at Windmill Point and was sponsored by the Windmill Point Yacht Club. Phil Cross, the Yacht Club’s manager, asked William Bruce to help him with a wildfowl art show. About 30 exhibitors were scheduled to attend the one day show, but due to a severe snow storm, which eventually dropped over 12 inches of snow on the area, only about half of these artists and carvers actually attended. Despite the weather, a large crowd of visitors came but the show was forced to close at 3 o’clock. Exhibitors who braved the snowstorm that day and continue to be regular exhibitors are:
William Bruce, White Stone, VA
Lewis Shelton, White Stone, VA
Ned Ewell of Cockeysville, MD
Art LaMay, Palm Coast, FL
Bill Bolin, Midlothian, VA
Dick Cook, Topping, VA
The second RRWS was scheduled for March 14 and 15, 1981, again at Windmill Point. Due to a sudden relocation of the Windmill Point Yacht Club about two months prior to the show, they were unable to remain the sponsors. The White Stone Volunteer Fire Department was asked if they would like to become the sponsors. They agreed and the show was moved to the firehouse. Twenty-seven exhibitors attended in 1981 with about 1200 visitors.
In 1982 the show expanded to the auditorium of the old White Stone School and had 46 exhibitors and an attendance of about 2000.
In 1984, to celebrate the 5th show, the “show print” was initiated. Most visitors to the show look forward to receiving this lovely print, which is now produced in color.
1980's & 1990's
Over the years the show expanded into other areas of the school building and for most of the nineties had 80 to 85 exhibitors yearly and an attendance of 2400 to 2700.
In 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and then again in 2009, the Rappahannock River Waterfowl Show was selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events in the South for March.
In 1999 a Preview Night Gala was added to the festivities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show. The Preview Night was so successful that it has become a most anticipated event.
In 2005 the old school building was sold requiring the fire department to re-locate those exhibitors who were previously in the school building. The solution was, and still is, a 130’ by 60’ tent attached to the back of the firehouse. The tent allows the 90 plus artists to now be under “one roof”. Attendance generally runs around 3000 yearly.