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NewsTribune photo/Shannon Crawley-Serpette In conjunction with the annual Henry Decoy Show, which is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Henry-Senachwine High School, the Charles Perdew Museum Association workshop will also be open that day at 9 a.m.-3 p.m.. The workshop, which honors the life and work of famed decoy carver Charles Perdew, is located near his house at 914 Front St. in Henry.
HENRY — For 45 years, the annual Henry Decoy Show has brought duck enthusiasts to the hometown of one of the nation’s most famed carvers, Charles Perdew.
This year, the show will be at 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 at Henry-Senachwine High School along Route 29 on the west side of Henry.
First organized by Don and Almira Clark in 1968, the show brings in people from several states who are interested in viewing, showing, selling, buying and trading old duck and goose decoys, contemporary carvings, game calls, old fishing gear, wildfowl jewelry and other items. As always, Illinois River decoys remain the main focus of the show.
In recent years, Bruce and Susan Bauter have served as organizers of the decoy show.
“Our parents and grandparents were lifelong Henry residents,” Bruce said. “They all knew Charles and Edna Perdew and were admirers of their folk art.”
For years Bruce worked with Don Clark. Susan’s mother and grandmother also were friends of Don and Almira and enjoyed hearing stories Don would tell about decoy collecting.
For Sue, the collecting began in 1970 when her parents gave her an old, shot-over Perdew mallard decoy for her birthday.
Over decades the popularity of the show hasn’t waned.
“We believe that the show continues to draw a crowd primarily because it is located in the center of a large duck hunting area, full of hunters and collectors that have ‘cabin fever’ in February and are ready for an outing,” Bruce said. “Secondly, the mix of the show’s displayers offers something of interest to everyone, from valuable decoys and calls to decorative, yet affordable, carved birds, pins, calls, paintings, books and many other folk art collectibles.”
The Bauters said they treasure the many memories and friendships they have formed at past shows.
Some of their favorite memories include working with Don and Almira Clark and seeing the excitement of participants before the show begins that morning. “We also remember the delightful conversations with excited door prize winners when we told them they were proud owners of a Perdew-style decoy. Most of all, we remember the many appreciative comments we’ve received from displayers thanking us for organizing each year’s show and keeping the tradition of Don and Almira Clark alive,” Bruce said.
The show provides an opportunity for people to learn more about decoys. Those who own old decoys and calls can get free appraisals. Peoria Riverfront Museum will display some of the finest decoys from its permanent collection.
Midwest Decoy Collector’s Association will have representatives there, while Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter, the world’s leading decoy auction house will give free appraisals and take consignments for its spring auction.
Breakfast, lunch, snacks, coffee, desserts and soft drinks will be available. Attendees also can register to win a full-size Perdew-style decoy by Charlie Moore. Admission for adults is $5. Children under 12 are admitted for free.
For more information about the show, contact Susan or Bruce Bauter at (309) 364-4104 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As in the past, those in attendance will have the chance to learn more about Perdew at the informational booth the Charles Perdew Museum Association will have at the show.
In conjunction with the decoy show, the Charles Perdew workshop also will be open that day 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The workshop, which honors the life and work of Perdew, is located behind his house at 914 Front St. in Henry.
Pat Selquist, president of Charles Perdew Museum Association, said the decoy show is the perfect place to highlight Perdew’s work. For a number of years, the association has had a display and sold items at the decoy show.
“We’ve sold quite a bit of our merchandise and we’ve signed up new members,” Selquist said.
Shannon Crawley-Serpette may be reached at (309) 364-2268 or ntputnam @newstrib.com.
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