Ocracoke Island Annual Events
Ocracoke celebrates all year long with fun, family-friendly events.
Ocracoke Fig Festival, August 17 & 18, 2018
We’ll celebrate our sweetest tradition in late August with the Annual Ocracoke Fig Festival in the Community Square. Local vendors provide fresh figs, fig preserves, local cookbooks, fig-smoked BBQ, and other fig-tastic items. Learn about Ocracoke’s fig history and culture, and bring the kids for old-fashioned crafts and games. The showpiece of the Fig Festival is the Fig Cake Bake-Off. Everyone is welcome to submit a cake in one or both categories, Traditional or Innovative. A panel of judges chooses the winners. And the best part? Free samples for everyone after the contest! The fun continues with a traditional Ocracoke Square Dance, followed by dancing to the Ocracoke Rockers!
Fall brings cooler days and chilly nights. Ocracoke still has some nightlife through October, with plenty of live music.
Ocracoke Island Wide Yard Sale, September 22, 2018
Join us for the First Annual Ocracoke Island-Wide Yard Sale – all day September 22.
Take advantage of this opportunity to turn your seldom-used or “clearance” items into cash, or shop for great bargains! Participation in this event is free to all Ocracoke individuals and businesses.
We will publicize to begin at 8 a.m. and lasting till whenever, businesses and residents are free to open their “shops” at whatever time they want throughout the day to ensure that shoppers continue to visit the locations throughout the day.
Maps will be distributed highlighting the locations of participants. Deadline to have your location included on the map is September 4, 2018. Signs will be provided and available for pick up on September 21, 2018 at the Visitor Center in Community Square and the Variety Store.
To have your address listed on our map fill out form here.
Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, October 25 – 28, 2018
Chart your course to Ocracoke for the Annual Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree to be held October 25 – 27, 2018. Help us celebrate our unique piratical heritage with a weekend of swashbuckling fun! The Jamboree features a historically accurate pirate encampment, and a reenactment of the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s last battle at Ocracoke. Three ships will re-create the last hours of Blackbeard and his crew as Lt. Robert Maynard brings them to battle with cannons blazing. Visitors are encouraged to get in touch with their inner pirate and wear their best buccaneer gear. This is an annual event, held the last weekend in October, leading to the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard’s demise in 2018.
To be a vendor at the “Brigand’s Bazaar” click here!
Festival Latino de Ocracoke, November 10, 2018
The Festival Latino de Ocracoke celebrates traditional Mexican foods, games, arts, and dance on November 10, 2018! Sponsored by Ocracoke Alive. Find out more at ocracokealive.org.
Parade of Boats, November 23, 2018
Ring in the holidays island-style with this seasonal parade that takes place on the waters that surrounds Ocracoke village. The Ocracoke Parade of Boats is a celebration of life on the water, and this annual procession of ships of all shapes and sizes is sure to make anyone fall in love with the coastal scene and community that calls Ocracoke Island home.
Winter is quiet and lovely (and our best-kept secret!) The month-long holiday season includes a Community Christmas Concert, Library Cookie Swap, Ocracoke Dolphins Basketball Tournament, open houses at businesses, Ocracoke School program, OPS Historic Homes Tour, caroling, services at island churches, and a visit from Santa!
Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association Oyster Roast & Shrimp Boil, December 29, 2018
By far the most popular December event is the annual Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Association Oyster Roast & Shrimp Boil. Hundreds of eager seafood lovers line up at makeshift tables in the bright winter sunshine to shuck oysters, peel ‘n’ eat shrimp, and slurp fish stew, washed down with cold beverages. Come out and eat your fill! Dessert is offered at the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Exhibit in the Community Square. (December 29, 2018)
Completed 2018 Events
Ocracoke Bar and Grill St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 17, 2018
The Third Annual St. Patricks day parade will be held Saturday, March 17, at 3pm. The parade begins and ends at Ocracoke Bar and Grill. The parade is free to enter with no registration required, just be on time and you’re in! 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will receive prizes. Ocracoke Bar and Grill will be serving green beer and corn beef and hash following the parade!
Ocracoke Island Waterfowl Festival, April 21
The First Annual Ocracoke Island Waterfowl Festival will be held on Saturday, April 21, in the Ocracoke School gymnasium. Islander Dave O’Neal, owner of the Down Point Decoy Gallery, will be this year’s featured carver. In addition to all kinds of decoys on display, the event will have presentations on the art of carving, raffles and food. For information, contact John Simpson, 509-930-4988.
Ocracoke Island’s 5k, 10K, & Half Marathon, April 28 & 29, 2018
Join us for Ocracoke’s 5K/10K, 1mile family fun run, and Ocracoke’s Half Marathon Saturday, April 28th 2018 at 8:00 a.m. & Sunday, April 29th 2018 at 7:00 a.m. The races take place in the Village of Ocracoke through historic roads, by Ocracoke Harbor, and by the 2nd oldest lighthouse in the United States. All accommodations are within walking or biking distance to the start/finish line. Each participant receives a t-shirt and a finisher medal. The top three male and female contestants of each category receive an award. Each event begins and ends at Gaffer’s Sports Pub. Gaffer’s host a post run party where food and beverages will be provided. Come experience a Run Fest weekend and have a great vacation at the same time. Sign up here: https://www.runocracoke.com
British Cemetery Ceremony, May 11, 2018
The British Cemetery Ceremony and reception commemorates the sinking of the H.M.T. Bedfordshire off the coast in 1942. Four sailors from the Bedfordshire are buried on Ocracoke, in a small plot of land that is “forever England.” Representatives from the US Coast Guard, US Navy, British Royal Navy, and Canadian Royal Navy, as well as Ocracoke High School students, participate in the annual ceremony, which includes a reading of the crew list, the playing of bagpipes, and a 21-gun salute. The event is open to all who wish to pay their respects, and it brings together family members and World War II historians from all over the world to honor these gravesites. The May 2018 ceremony will be the 76th commemoration of the four British World War II soldiers buried in the small plot of British land along British Cemetery Road.
OVFD Firemen’s Ball, May 26, Memorial Day Weekend
For a good time, you can’t beat the Firemen’s Ball on Memorial Day weekend. A huge pig-pickin’ BBQ starts the event off right, with good food and drink for everyone. The silent auction allows people to win great prizes in a dignified manner, while the live auction encourages good-natured and exuberant bidding wars, all to support Ocracoke’s wonderful Volunteer Fire Department. The dancing goes late into the evening with three bands cranking out rock ‘n’ roll all night long. No fools, no fun!
Summer brings sunny days, sizzling sunsets, and starry nights. When you need a break from the beach, Ocracoke organizations and businesses offer special programs and activities from art classes to educational talks. There’s something going on every day—check out the schedules for National Park Service programs, Ocracoke Preservation Society Porch Talks, Skipjack Wilma Lee Dockside Talks, and Outdoor Classroom activities. You’ll find boat rides, watersports, ghost walks, and more! Live music abounds during the summer season. Local and visiting bands play every evening in Ocracoke’s dockside pubs, music halls, and late-night bars.
Ocrafolk Festival, June 1-3, 2018
The Ocrafolk Festival is three days of music and storytelling that takes place every year on the first full weekend in June. Ocrafolk is presented by Ocracoke Alive, and celebrates music, storytelling, and artisans from the NC coastal region and beyond. Enjoy live music and storytelling by local and regional bands. Wander the festival grounds and find delicious food options from island restaurants, and an amazing selection of artisans’ booths showcasing fine arts and crafts.
Women’s Arm Wrestling Tournament, June 14, 2018
Ocracoke is a town that loves to dress up and put on a show. The Annual WOVV Women’s Arm Wrestling Tournament contestants never disappoint with their costumes and wrestler personas. This double-elimination tournament is as much about the spectacle as the strength, but the ladies will impress you with their powerful biceps and fierce determination. The winner gets a year’s worth of bragging rights! WOVV 90.1FM is Ocracoke’s own community-supported radio station.
2018 Ocracoke Island Independence Day Celebration – July 3, 4 & 5, 2018
There’s no lack of excitement on Ocracoke Island this Independence Day. The festivities kick off Tuesday, July 3, with the famous Ocracoke Square Dance and a fireworks show over beautiful Silver Lake. The fun continues July 4 with a full day of activities, featuring the Sand Sculpture Contest, a traditional hometown parade and then something new in the evening—a Glow-in-the-Dark Laser Effects Show and Dance Party. Festivities conclude Thursday, July 5, with a Community Beach Bonfire finale.
Ocracoke Island is the only destination that combines a relaxing beach vacation on miles of untouched National Seashore, with three days of 4th of July celebration within walking distance of your accommodations.
Tuesday, July 3, begins with a traditional Ocracoke Island Square Dance at the newly built Berkley Manor Barn from 6 to 8 p.m. with music provided by internationally known Molasses Creek. At 8 p.m., Emerald Owl Productions deejay will spin dance tunes and patriotic songs at the NPS docks for the pre-fireworks gathering.
At 9:15 p.m., the island will host a spectacular firework show that can be viewed from Silver Lake Harbor. The fireworks will be launched from the large National Park Service parking area (closed for the fireworks), located at the southern end of the island. Hyde County sponsors the show in conjunction with the Ocracoke Civic & Business Association and the National Park Service. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early and gather anywhere around beautiful Silver Lake harbor for awesome waterside viewing.
The celebration continues Wednesday, July 4, with events scheduled throughout the day:
- 8 to 10 a.m.: “Meet Winnie,” the newest member of Ocracoke’s Pony Heard at the NPS Pony Pens
- 9 a.m.: “Flag Raising and the National Anthem” – Ocracoke School Flag Circle on School Road
- 9:30 a.m. – Noon: “40th Annual Sand Sculpture Contest” at the NPS Lifeguard Beach, with cash prizes and special trophy created by island artist Susan Dodd for Best in Show. Judged and peoples’ choice awards. Register to be part of the Sand Sculpture contest online
- at: http://business.visitocracokenc.com/form/view/11309
- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: “Classic Car Show” – on the Pony Island Lawn, sponsored by Jimmy’s Garage
- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: “Ocracoke Lighthouse Viewing” – all are welcome to see inside; no climbing
- 4 p.m.: “Old Time Independence Day Parade” – featuring a procession of floats, walkers, decorated golf carts and bicycles. Starts at the Ocracoke Oyster Co., travels through the village and ends at the NPS Parking Lot. This year’s theme is the “300th Anniversary of Blackbeard’s Last Day,” with a special prize category this year of “Best Blackbeard.” Blackbeard himself will be the grand marshal. All are welcome to enter the parade to vie for cash prize awards and special trophy created by island artist Susan Dodd for Best in Show. Register for the Parade online at: https://ocracokevillage.chambermaster.com/eventregistration/register/1526
- 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.: “Storytelling with Donald Davis” – lawn of Books to be Red
- 6:45 p.m.: “Awards Presentation for Parade and Sand Sculpture Contest” – Books to be Red lawn
- 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. “Glow-in-the-Dark Laser Show & Dance Party” – Ocracoke Community Park, 148 Maurice Ballance Road. Wear your glow-in-the-dark gear and dance to music from the last five decades, all with laser special effects. There will be interactive games, face painting, contests, giveaways and fun for all ages. $5 admission. Glow items and concessions will be available for purchase. Proceeds benefit Ocracoke Youth Center. Rain date is July 5th.
On Thursday, July 5, join in the finale event at the “Community Beach Bonfire Under the Stars” from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Ocracoke Day Use Area/NPS Lifeguard Beach. Bring your beach blankets, chairs, marshmallows, roasting sticks. S’mores will be provided for first 150 attendees.
For a complete schedule of events, please visit https://www.visitocracokenc.com/plan-your-trip/events-2/
“Fun on the Fourth” is a time-honored, Ocracoke Island tradition. The Island welcomes today’s visitors with the same old-fashioned island hospitality and dedication to fun that has made it a popular vacation destination for over a century.
2018 Ocracoke Island Independence Day Schedule of Events or call 252-928-6711 for more information.
Be a part of the Sand Sculpture Contest, sign up here!
Be a part of the Parade, sign up here!