An iconic Arkansas event is being postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce is postponing the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival, originally scheduled for Nov. 21-28. Organizers said they have been monitoring the ongoing public health crisis and elected to postpone the events due to the level of uncertainty surrounding the situation.
Bethany Hildebrand, the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the World’s Duck Calling Championship and Wings Over the Prairie Festival would be canceled for 2020 but that there are plans for the events to return in 2021.
“This was one of the hardest decisions the Chamber and the Board has had to make,” Hildebrand said. “Knowing the rich history and tradition behind the festival, I can assure you this decision was not made lighly or without extensive conversation amongst the board, community groups and leaders. However, the health and safety of the community is much more important to us. We will be back in 2021 and it will be bigger, it will be better, and it will be filled with the crowds and duck calls that we all love. The Wings Over the Prairie Festival is a time of year when we proudly place our entire community on display for all to see. Stuttgart comes together during this time and our community spirit shows. Gathering together will be sorely missed, but our community spirit lives on and will buy us through this extraordinary time. We will miss the festival this year but look forward to what it has to offer in 2021!”
Other events scheduled during the 2020 Wings Over the Prairie Festival, including the Duck Gumbo Cook-Off and the Queen Mallard Pageants, will be rescheduled for 2021. The Champion of Champions contest and the Senior World’s Contest – part of the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest – were slated to be held in 2020 but will be held in 2021.
Duck callers who have qualified for the 2020 championship will be automatically eligible for the 2021 championship.
According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, the Duck Calling Championship has been held since 1936 – first as the National Duck Calling Contest.