The city's Gaillard Auditorium is filled with booths and tables selling and promoting all kinds of hunting and fishing gear, as well as outdoor-themed clothes and artwork. The art center exhibits wildlife paintings and photographs. Marion Square features bird and reptile exhibitions, cooking demonstrations, music, food, handmade crafts and locally grown products.
I confess I am not a hunter. The last time I shot a gun was when I was about 14 and visited my uncle up in rural Connecticut. The last time I went fishing was with my son when he was about six years old. And the last time I went camping was with a girlfriend in 1973. But I am an armchair environmentalist, and so SEWE is a fun thing to do . . . although I do wonder: Is it possible to be an environmentalist and then go out and shoot wild animals to death? Well, that's a question best left to people smarter than I am.
|Three-year-old American alligator|
Anyway, another venue over by the Ashley river offers more food, more music, plus flyfishing and gun dog demonstrations. But the capstone event, for me, is the dockdog competition.
|The dog is launched|
Any breed can be entered. Each dog gets two tries. And the winner is the dog who jumps the farthest off the dock.
|Going for it|
Each handler gets one minute to set the dog, throw the shuttle and have his dog leave the platform.
|Soaring over Charleston|
They mark the distance at the point the base of the dog's tail hits the water. Most of the dogs jump 14 to 19 feet. A few jump over 20 feet. And the winner of the event I saw landed at some 28 feet off the board. That's one giant leap for dogkind!
And just so you know I am indeed in the south, here is proof:
And if you're still not convinced, here is proof positive:
|Certified Southern fare|