Outer Banks Seafood Fest–Celebrating the Heritage of Coastal North Carolina

dsc_0011_400Forgotten, sometimes, in the rush to get to the Outer Banks or find that rental home or earn a living if you live here, is the true heritage of the area. Once upon a time these strips of sand were a largely forgotten piece of real estate, isolated from the mainland, earning a largely subsistence living from the sea and land.

Fishing, as a way of life is still very much a part of the Outer Banks. Visitors are certainly aware of the charter fleet that covers everything from the waters of the sounds to the blue water fishing in the Gulf Stream. But there is much more to the fishing on the Outer Banks than the charter fleet.

There is a significant commercial fleet using the Outer Banks as a homeport. It is because of that fleet, that local restaurants consistently have freshest and best seafood anywhere to offer. (That’s the local restaurants, by the way–can’t speak for the chains that have moved in down here, as a general rule, they have their own suppliers and the local fishermen are not a part of that.)

With this long history, it’s surprising that no one ever thought to celebrate that heritage.

Until this year.

The Outer Banks Seafood Festival, Saturday, October 20, is looking like it’s going to be a lot of fun and get the word out about some people who are often third, fourth, fifth and even more commercial fisherman, the event seems to have something for everybody.

Bringing in the local catch from Currituck, Dare and Hyde, and Tyrrell Counties, there will be some great food prepared by local chefs and some local recipes from the families of the fishermen, story telling and live entertainment. Additionally, the entire day will feature kid friendly events.

Held at the old Windmill Point location on the soundside of the Bypass (MP 16.5), it is a free event, although to taste the food prepared by the local chefs a ticket is required. With 20 restaurants participating, the $20 ticket price is a deal–and it’s discounted if purchased before the event online.

This is truly a local event, highlighting much of what is best about the Outer Banks. There are five bands scheduled to perform and they’re all homegrown talent–and they are very good. Festivities will be kicked off by the First Flight High School Jazz Band–a band that has won numerous national awards.

Almost all of the entertainment for kids is from local businesses and organizations–from Deb Kasten’s North Carolina Marionette Theatre to the Children’s Museum, a wonderful concept of play and education for children that will keep toddlers and preschoolers occupied for hours.

Funded through grants from the Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, the Outer Banks Restaurant Association and Outer Banks Catch (seems to be a trend with the Outer Banks being involved), this is the first of what organizers hope will become an annual event. For more information go towww.outerbanksseafoodfestival.org.

Resort Realty does have weekend packages available during the shoulder seasons. This may be a great time to take advantage of that.