Ocracoke celebrates all year long with fun, family-friendly events.
Clam Chowder Cook-Off, April 15
Join us for the first event of the season: the annual Clam Chowder Cook-Off, on April 15, the Saturday of Easter weekend. Local chefs and foodies compete to cook up the best traditional Ocracoke Clam Chowder. There’s a creative category, too, in case you want to add a little something extra to the basic recipe. Enter your chowder, or just come by and taste them all! Winners are chosen by popular vote. This delicious event is a fund-raiser for the non-profit Ocracoke Child Care. Find out more at ocracokechildcare.org.
5k/10k and Half-Marathon, April 29
Join us on April 29, 2017 for Ocracoke Island’s 6th annual 5k/10k and one-mile family fun run. The 5k/10k run will take place in the Village of Ocracoke through historic neighborhoods, along Ocracoke Harbor, and past the 2nd-oldest lighthouse in the United States in continuous service. The course is basically flat. All accommodations are within walking or biking distance to the start/finish line. Golf cart rentals are available. There will be limited parking near the start/finish line. There will be a one-mile family fun run immediately following the 5k/10k awards ceremony. The 2016 race raised over $40,000 for our three beneficiaries. The top three male and female runners usually receive an award, as do the top three male and female finishers in each age category. THIS YEAR, ALL 5K AND 10K FINISHERS WILL RECEIVE MEDALS. Everyone completing the family run will receive a medal recognizing the event. All 5k/10k runners will receive a T-shirt (sizes not guaranteed after April 14th pre-registration) designed by a local artist. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., Gaffer’s Sports Pub will host a post-run party. There will be no charge for 5k/10k runners. Food and beverages will be provided.
2nd Annual Blackbeard Half Marathon on Sunday, April 30 at 8 a.m.
Join us on Sunday, April 30 for Ocracoke’s 2nd Annual Half Marathon. The course, beginning and ending near Gaffer’s Sports Pub, will run through the Village of Ocracoke, through quaint neighborhoods, and then head north to Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Half Marathon, using the Ocracoke Multi-Use Trail, will continue to the Ocracoke Park Service Campground. The course will circle the campground and head back south using the Multi-Use Trail for a fast, approximately 3-mile finish near Gaffer’s Sports Pub. Gaffers will host the awards ceremony and post-run party starting at high noon.
Come and experience what makes Ocracoke Island so special: a wealth of history concentrated in a spot that offers great restaurants and shopping. Ocracoke offers nothing but family-owned businesses—no chains here. Transportation is best by bike, golf cart, or simply walking. Most of Ocracoke Island consists of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. You will not see any beachfront homes here—only wide-open, beautiful beaches where shelling is great and recreational opportunities abound. Experience a Run Fest weekend and have a great vacation at the same time.
British Cemetery Ceremony, May
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 2017 ceremony was the 74th 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, 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
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, Mid-June
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. Mid-June.
Independence Day, July 3
Ocracoke celebrates our nation’s birthday in style, kicking off the two-day event with a Traditional Ocracoke Square Dance and Fireworks on July 3rd.
The Independence Day celebration doesn’t end with the Grand Finale in the sky. On the 4th, events start early and go all day long. Watch the Boy Scouts hoist Old Glory at the Flag Raising Ceremony. Hear the National Anthem. See inside the Ocracoke Lighthouse. Join in the annual Sand Sculpture Contest (or just go and marvel at the winners). Visit the Pony Pens and meet some ponies up close. Enjoy entertaining stories, reminisce at the classic car show, or just spend a glorious day at the beach. And don’t forget Ocracoke’s Classic Old-Time Parade, which winds through the village in the late afternoon. Visitors and residents are encouraged to participate, and there are even cash prizes! Evening calls you back out the beach, to join in the Community Bonfire (s’mores optional) under the stars!
Ocracoke Fig Festival
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.
Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, October 27 & 28
Chart your course to Ocracoke for the Annual Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree to be held October 27 & 28, 2017. 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.
Festival Latino de Ocracoke, November 11
The Festival Latino de Ocracoke celebrates traditional Mexican foods, games, arts, and dance on November 11, 2017! Sponsored by Ocracoke Alive. Find out more at ocracokealive.org.
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 30
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 30, 2017)