Ocracoke Island Annual Events
Ocracoke celebrates all year long with fun, family-friendly events.
Ocracoke Island’s 5k, 10K, & Half Marathon, April 25 & 26, 2020
Join us for Ocracoke’s 5K/10K, 1mile family fun run on Saturday April 25, 2020 and Ocracoke’s Half Marathon Sunday, April 26, 2020. 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
Ocracoke Island Waterfowl Festival, May 2, 2020
Decoy carvers and aficionados will again descend on Ocracoke for the Third annual Ocracoke Waterfowl Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 2, in the Ocracoke School Gym, 120 School Rd. The event is presented by the non-profit Ocracoke Island Decoy Carvers Guild, which formed in early 2018 to preserve this artform in Ocracoke history. As at last year’s event, at which about 600 attended, there will be plenty of food, kids decoy painting sessions, raffles and a decoy head-carving contest.
British Cemetery Ceremony, May 8, 2020
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 respect s, and it brings together family members and World War II historians from all over the world to honor these gravesites. The May 2020 ceremony will be the 78th commemoration of the four British World War II soldiers buried in the small plot of British land along British Cemetery Road. While the Ocracoke Occupancy Tax Board grants money to cover the cost of the cemetery plantings and the reception afterwards, this does not cover the total cost. To donate, send checks by April 30 to OCBA, P.O. Box 456, Ocracoke, NC 27960. Please note “British Cemetery Ceremony” in the memo line.
OVFD Firemen’s Ball, May 23, 2020 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 5-7, 2020
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 11, 2020
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.
Ocracoke Island Independence Day Celebration – July 2–5, 2020
There’s no lack of excitement on Ocracoke Island this Independence Day. The festivities kick off July 2 with a fireworks show over beautiful Silver Lake. The fun continues July 3–5 with activities each day, including a Sand Sculpture Contest, a Scavenger Hunt, a traditional hometown parade, a Glow-in-the-Dark Laser Effects Show and Dance Party, a Square Dance, and a Community Beach Bonfire. Check back for a detailed schedule of events for each day.
Ocracoke Fig Festival, August 7-8, 2020
We’ll celebrate our sweetest tradition in late August with the Annual Ocracoke Fig Festival. 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!
Ocracoke Seafood Festival – September 5, 2020
Enjoy listening to great bands, participate in live auctions and eat fresh Ocracoke seafood at this new benefit to support the Ocracoke Health Center. Tickets will be available at the door. Find out more information here.
Fall brings cooler days and chilly nights. Ocracoke still has some nightlife through October, with plenty of live music.
Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, October 29- November 1, 2020
Chart your course to Ocracoke for the Annual Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree. Come celebrate Ocracoke’s unique piratical heritage with a weekend of swashbuckling fun! The Jamboree features an 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. Get in touch with your inner pirate and wear your best buccaneer gear. Interactive living history exhibits, sea chanteys, music and a shopping marketplace of seafaring fine arts and wares provide entertainment for all ages. The event culminates when pirate and militia crews march to beautiful Springer’s Point to honor those killed in Blackbeard’s last battle with a eulogy, hymns and final cannon salute.
Festival Latino de Ocracoke, November 6-8, 2020
The Festival Latino de Ocracoke celebrates traditional Mexican foods, games, arts, and dance November 6-8, 2020! Sponsored by Ocracoke Alive. Find out more at ocracokealive.org.
Parade of Boats, November 28, 2020
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 2020
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.