Spend a ‘Day at the Docks’ - Carolina Country

Spend a ‘Day at the Docks’

Hatteras Village celebrates the community’s heritage and resilience

By Laura Ertle; Photos by Don Bowers, Island Free Press

Spend a ‘Day at the Docks’

Fifteen years ago this month, Hurricane Isabel made landfall between Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras as a Category 2 storm. The hurricane had devastating impacts on the area and cut a new inlet across Highway 12, isolating Hatteras Village from the rest of the island. In the aftermath of the storm, local watermen became the community’s lifeline, helping transport supplies, residents and even shuttling children to school while highway repairs were made.

Cooking Don Bowers

Day at the Docks, a community heritage celebration, was started one year later to celebrate the “Spirit of Hatteras” and its recovery, anchored by its commercial and charter fishermen. This annual event takes place September 14-15, 2018, and is a confirmation of the strength of community, heritage and living traditions of the waterman.

Presented by the Hatteras Island Civic Association, this family friendly festival is an excellent way to learn about the lives of commercial fisherman and their families and celebrate the spirit of community. The two-day event has a packed schedule featuring live music, cooking competitions, children’s fishing tournaments, history talks and even fish cleaning demonstrations.

The celebration will begin on Friday evening with the “Taste of North Carolina” where guests can eat, drink and dance the night away. The tasty event will be held at Lee Robinson’s General Store, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. North Carolina producers, cookbook authors and beer and wine makers will be on hand to share their crafts while local musicians perform.

Crabs Don Bowers

Saturday is a day full of events for all ages. The morning begins with the Fishy 5K and Dock Dash Fun Run, which loops through historic Hatteras Village and benefits the Hatteras United Methodist Church. The main festival events will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 5 p.m.

One of the most-anticipated events of the day is the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation’s Chowder Cook-off. Local restaurants from all over Hatteras Island will compete for the title of “Best Chowder on the Island.” Make sure to bring your appetite as this event allows visitors to taste each chowder and vote for their favorite.

Another headlining event of the day is the Annual Seafood Throwdown cooking competition. This year, the Hatteras Village Volunteer Fire Department has challenged the Frisco Volunteer Fire Department to a cook-off that will feature local fare. Visitors can watch the cooking action and sample the results on the main stage at 2 p.m.

Fishing Don Bowers

The education tent will feature a variety of organizations that support the coast through advocacy and education. Local award-winning photographer, Daniel Pullen, will have his photo documentary project, “The Hatteras Fisherman,” on display in an adjacent tent. This tent will also feature a series of written tributes to the Hatteras waterman as part of a local initiative, the Waterman Project.

Throughout the day, the North Carolina Coastal Federation will offer tours of the marsh along Durant’s Point, just across the harbor from the festival. In addition, local captains of the Albatross Fleet will offer harbor tours. The United States Coast Guard’s 47-foot motor lifeboat will also be on site and open for tours.

Attendees can watch the local favorite Concrete Marlin Tournament where captains and mates compete for the best time to hook, reel and gaff a concrete cylinder that replicates the weight of a fighting marlin.

Day at the Docks will draw to a close with the final event, the Blessing of the Fleet at Hatteras Harbor Marina on Saturday evening. During the blessing, a historic shad boat will place a wreath on the water to honor the watermen who have “crossed the bar” for a final time

Day at the Docks

Hatteras Village, Sept. 14 and 15

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About the Author

Laura Ertle is director of Public Relations & Marketing for Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative in Buxton.

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