It is with great honor that we announce the 2019 Easter Decoy & Art Festival Award Winners! The Curtis Merritt Award of Excellence is voted on by the exhibitors only while Best Carver and Best Artist are voted on by the festival attendees. Best picture of Chincoteague or Assateague is voted on by a jury.
2019 Curtis Merritt Award of Excellence Winner
Carroll Lee Marshall
Carroll Lee Marshall from Sanford Virginia. He loves children and can be seen giving a miniature carving to children who visit his booth. Carroll Lee volunteers at the Saxis Island Museum and the Museum of Chincoteague Island where he does carving demonstrations. He is an active member of the Chincoteague Decoy Carvers and Artists Association and has been with the Easter Decoy & Art Festival for many years.
2019 People’s Choice for Best Carver
An island native for 88 years, Cork began carving hunting rigs—he guided hunting trips for ducks and geese for 58 years. He mentored under Cigar Daisey as he “hung out in his shop”. His family lived on Assateague Island for many years and his father was a waterman and his mother took care of the home and children. Now his decoys are collector’s items.
2019 People’s Choice for Best Artist
Yvonne Torelli is a self-taught oil painter residing in Laurel, DE. Yvonne was a social worker for many years while developing her style and perfecting her craft. Yvonne says she paints what she loves. That includes landscapes of Assateague Island and the Chesapeake marsh, sport fish, turtles from her backyard turtle sanctuary and birds from neighboring woods. Yvonne won the award in 2015 and 2017 as well. Contact Yvonne at email@example.com.
2019 Best Photograph of Chincoteague or Assateague
Capt. Debbie Ritter
Great White Egret with Outstretched Wing Sheltering a Snowy Egret
Debbie has studied and captured images of wildlife on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Chincoteague and Assateague Islands for over 30 years. Her wild Chincoteague pony photographs capture the beauty of the animals, oftentimes during Spring or Fall roundups. She captains her own cruise boat under the name Chincoteague Nature Encounters. Debbie won this award in 2016 and 2018. Contact Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.