In many ways the First Annual Outer Banks Seafood Festival represented all that is best about the Outer Banks, both as a place to live and a place to visit. There was, of course the seafood–wonderfully fresh and exceptionally well-prepared seafood. Then there was the entertainment–all local bands playing a wide array of music, all of it highlighting just how talented Outer Banks musicians truly are. There was, of course the weather–which was perfect for the day; the setting, right on the Croatan Sound was beautiful.

But what really stood out, and perhaps most importantly, this was something the whole family could enjoy. In fact, in looking back over the events of this October, every one of them–the Bluegrass Festival, the Duck Jazz Festival, Mustang Music Festival and now the Outer Banks Seafood Festival–put tremendous effort into insuring that the event was something (to use a truly hackneyed phrase) kids from nine to 90 could enjoy.

I was talking to some folks from Pennsylvania who told me they had been coming down here for 23 years. They had been going to the Jersey shore, but after a summer of medical waste washing up on beaches, they discovered the Outer Banks and never looked back. To them, it was what they had been searching for . . . a beautiful setting ideal for their families. And after the kids were grown, they kept coming back because it represents so much of what they want in a place to call a second home.

The reason including families in what we do on the Outer Banks seems to be so much a part of who and what we are is because it’s genuine. It’s not a marketing ploy, it’s not a calculated strategy to attract more tourists, it is who and what we are. The people who planned the Seafood Festival, who staffed the multiple booths offering an amazing array of fresh seafood at the festival,  have families that live here. It is as important to them that both parents and kids can come and have as good a time at an event as it is for our visitors.

Things are starting to wind down a bit, of course. It is, after all, almost November. That doesn’t mean, though that the event season is completely over. The 6th Annual Paul Shaver Memorial Golf Tournament is coming up this weekend at Sea Scape Golf Links in Kitty Hawk. Phone 252-261-3171 for more information. Wings over Water is coming up November 6 -11. Held in locations all over the Outer Banks, it is a wonderful celebration of the history and the beauty of the area. 252-216-WING or for more information.

The big event, though, is the Outer Banks Marathon, the weekend of the 9th -11th. More of a running festival than a single event, the headliners are the Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday with fun runs and a 5K on Saturday. For more information go