duck Two Rivers ExhibitionDecoys, shorebirds and wildlife art (above) are the stars of the show…and artist-author David Rhodes (below) is the special guest exhibitor…as the annual Two Rivers Exhibition returns to Rumson’s Forrestdale School on Saturday. 

David RhodesIt’s one of those best-kept-secret events that keep local life here on the greater Green so worthy of continued exploration — and for enthusiasts of a certain sort of niche craft, it’s an excursion that sure beats getting up before dawn and shivering the morning away in some lonesome duck blind.

Back for its third annual edition this Saturday, March 12, the Two Rivers Exhibition of Sporting Collectible Art  commandeers the all-purpose room of Forrestdale School (60 Forrest Avenue in Rumson) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., for a one-stop occasion in which some of the finest carvers of decoys and shorebirds from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland will compete for Best in Show honors (entries to be judged on anatomy, originality, likeness to species, and proper flotation). Also offered will be wildlife-themed art (watercolor, acrylic, oils, photographs, metal, pottery and more), artist demos, antique decoy appraisals, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and lunch menu — a must-see “if you love birds, are interested in learning about the history of decoys or simply enjoy nature and delight in seeing all the beauty it has to offer.”

Presented by the New Jersey Waterfowl Carvers Association in association with the Monmouth County chapter of Ducks Unlimited, the event raises funds for the nonprofit DU organization’s ongoing efforts to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl.

Scheduled exhibitors range from such regionally renowned artists as Ocean City’s David Rhodes (who will be selling and signing copies of his new book, The Last Man on Howling Head Island) and Cape May’s Cooper Rossner, to right-in-our-backyard talents like Rumson’s own Anthony Ciambrone, and next-generation carvers like Gloucester County’s Allison Hillman. They’ll all be vying for top honors in their categories as they demonstrate and discuss their craft in the carving competition area, while attendees of all ages can, for a nominal donation, “discover their own inner artist” by painting a shorebird.

Jon Frank of Frank and Frank Collectibles will be on hand to assess antique shorebird art and decoys brought in by the public, while representatives from Tuckerton Seaport and other area organizations will maintain educational displays on the history, craft and commerce of decoy making in our regional waterways.

Kids are welcome at the event too, with free admission for attendees under 12 when accompanied by adult. It’s just $5 for grownups to get in (a 50 percent discount from the 2015 event), and additional info can be had by checking in on the exhibition’s Facebook page, or by emailing