Spring is here at last. OK, maybe not officially spring, but 8 days and counting. On the Outer Banks, spring has sprung when the Outer Banks Taste of the Beach (www.obxtasteofthebeach.com) March 14-17 marks the end of the winter doldrums.  An amazing long weekend that wraps up with a “Sunday funday” starting with the 24th annual Mike Kelly’s St. Partrick’s Day Parade and after, The Grand Tasting, which is the culmination of the week-long food event frenzy, and a unique food expo not to be missed.

Admittedly almost every town, city or county has some sort of a “Taste of”, but the Outer Banks seems to be the only place that has created a tour of the venue with an amazing culinary experience. Although there are two events that bring everyone together in one place–Friday’s Barbecue Cook-off and Saturday’s Chowder Cook-off at the Marketplace in Southern Shores–just about everything else calls for a grand tour of the Outer Banks.There is wine tasting and beer tasting . . . and a tour of how beer is made at the Brewing Station. Sanctuary Vineyards, at the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg has wine tasting with a tour of the winery.There may be more world class chefs on the Outer Banks packed into a limited area than any other place anywhere, and this is a great chance to learn from them how they approach their craft and to taste the final product.There are restaurant and pub crawls, special dinners, one pan breakfasts, bread making, chocolate tasting–just a wonderful, and very unique, Outer Banks way of doing things.

And–finally–Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.Describing Kelly’s tribute to the patron saint of Ireland is a dangerous task–and honestly the only true way to describe it is to witness it for yourself.The parade route is a mile long on the Beach Road in Nags Head, ending fittingly, at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern. There’s usually about 15,000 people lining the parade route, all craning their necks for a chance to see . . .High school marching bands, marching dogs, a beach chair precision drill team–a handful of Outer Banks charitable organization’s ‘Miss Something’ . . . only half of whom are actually women, marching ponies, girl scout troops, boy scout troops and people who just want to be in the parade. In short–much of what makes the Outer Banks such a wonderful place to live and visit.

It’s a great long weekend on the OBX. And if you can get away, come on down and visit. Time is short but here at Resort Realty we can still find you a place to stay. As the premier accomodations sponsor for the OBX Taste of the Beach, we have a few tickets left for the BBQ Showdown Friday afternoon for guests!

 Visit us for the long weekend at 800-458-3830 or online atwww.ResortRealty.com.