Events in the Outer Banks of North Carolina
Events in the Outer Banks of North Carolina
It’s time to mark your calendar and see the festivals happening on the Outer Banks. People of Outer Banks always find something to celebrate. From food and wine to local art and music, there are more ways than one to enjoy life and all its trappings here. The annual events and festivals in Outer Banks are excellent reasons to visit this beautiful region. Here’s a list of dates and events to expect in your visit to the Outer Banks.
The Outer Banks is a region in North Carolina that you must visit for a lot of reasons, but most especially for its annual events and festivals. Every month there are celebrations that add fun and vibrance to the seaside towns of this region. Whatever your interests in life are, you’ll find something to enjoy at these annual events. So, I won’t make the introduction long and will introduce you right away to the five annual events and festivals that you must attend on the Outer Banks.
Big celebrations, parades, singing, and dancing are in the DNA of the residents of the Outer Banks. Thus, it’s no wonder that many festivals and events are celebrated in this region throughout the year. Attending these festivities is the best way to learn about the rich culture and wonderful people living in this part of North Carolina. Since we love the Outer Banks, we want you, our dear readers, to love this beautiful place as well by taking a visit to its fun and vibrant annual events and festivals.
Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival
Held at the picturesque North Carolina coastline at Roanoke Island, the Bluegrass Island Festival is a thing you shouldn’t miss on the Outer Banks. This annual event that happens every October is dedicated to all music lovers. Bands and musical acts from all over the country come to perform at this music festival, making it one of the highly anticipated events in North Carolina. The concert starts from 11 in the morning until midnight. Of course, lots of food and booze can be bought at the venue. For visitors to the island, make sure to book your lodgings and buy your tickets in advance. There are several accommodations you can choose from near the beachside.
Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament
The Pirates Cove Billfish Tournament has been going on for 39 years already. This week-long fishing tournament happening every August at the docks of Manteo attracts the most skilled anglers on the East Coast. Individuals who can catch the biggest fish in any of the categories at this fishing tournament will get cash prizes. Groups of anglers will start from the Pirates Cove Marina into the Gulf Stream to try their luck at targets, such as swordfish, marlin, and saltfish. You can take part in this event as a competitor or spectator. If you’re visiting Manteo in August, make sure to witness this spectacular fishing tournament.
Outer Banks Pirate Festival
Pirates never fail to capture children’s imagination. If you or your kids love pirates and swashbuckling activities, go to the Outer Banks Pirate Festival. Visitors of all ages will find something fun and exciting at this two-day event in the second week of August. There’s a pirate encampment, a Scallywag School for children, and a cannon fire demonstration. You’ll also hear talks about the local history here and play games that will surely make your day extra awesome. The Outer Banks Pirate Festival is held at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.
OBX Arts & Crafts Festival
The OBX Arts & Crafts Festival is an annual event happening from September 7 to 8 at Hilton Garden Inn in the town of Kitty Hawk. This event showcases 25 Outer Banks artists and their creations in the field of photography, painting, fiber arts, pottery, sculpting, collage, glass arts, jewelry, and more. Aside from the arts and crafts featured in the show, the event also has a noble purpose as its proceeds are donated to two charities operating on the Outer Banks. If you want to see the masterpieces of the local artists in the region, the OBX Arts & Crafts Festival is a must-visit.
Day at the Docks
The Day at the Docks has become an annual tradition for residents and visitors to Hatteras Island. This event celebrates the rich and colorful culture of the island with live entertainment, delicious food, fun activities, commercial fishing boats, and many more. The Hatteras Village is the prime location for this festive two-event happening every September. The main attraction of the event is the chowder competition. Local restaurants vie for the first prize which is judged by lucky spectators. A parade of local charter and fishing boats called the Blessing of the Fleet is also a highlight at this event. The sea vessels travel along the scenic Pamlico Sound while songs and spoken poetry are being performed. The festival is free and a must for everyone visiting Hatteras Island. Don’t forget to tag along your family, friends, and partners to this fun event.
Annual Wright Kite Festival
If you’re an American, you must surely be proud of the Wright Brothers, aviation pioneers who successfully invented and built the first motor-operated airplane. The Annual Wright Kite Festival commemorates this spectacular and historic feat of the brothers. The Wright Kite Festival is now on its 44th anniversary this July 16 and 17. The two-day event will be held in the Wright Brothers National Memorial, the place where our two aviation heroes took their first flight in 1903. Kites of all shapes measuring up to 30 to 100 feet will be seen hovering over the park. You can learn how to make and fly your kite at the event. The park will be open daily from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.
Ocracoke Fig Festival
The village of Ocracoke on the island of the same name puts so much importance on fig that they made a festival for it. The Ocracoke Fig Festival is happening on the first weekend of August, a fun event marked by dancing, singing, food, and all sorts of enjoyable activities. There are also programs that talk about the significance of the fig to this village. The festival will be held at Ocracoke’s Community Square and Preservation Museum. Go to the marketplace and buy some food, arts, and crafts there, or taste the samples of baked figs at the Fig Cake Baking Competition.
Halloween International Film Festival
Cinephiles, indie filmmakers, and horror fans will come together at the Halloween International Film Festival. This three-day event will be held in Kill Devil Hills. All year round the festival committee will accept independent horror film entries. The best horror movies will be up for showing at the R/C Theaters Movies 10. Attend the conference and meet the filmmakers and casts of your favorite movie entries. You can ask some questions to them and take some pictures for your social media news feed.
OBX Shred Fest
The OBX Shred Fest is a fundraising event featuring live entertainment by local bands and skill demonstrations by roller derby women, BMX riders, and pro skateboarders. There are also art exhibitions, raffles, delicious food, and drinks. The Outer Banks Voice, Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, To the T Public Relations, and Radio of the Carolinas are the organizers of OBX Shred Fest. The event aims to raise funds, increase awareness, and support the Veterans in the area. It also helps people across ability levels to be included in community events.
Hatteras Village Waterfowl Festival
A celebration of the significant role waterfowls plays in the biodiversity, culture, and traditions on Hatteras Island and the rest of the Outer Banks region. This annual event happening every February attracts ornithologists, birders, and anyone who has a penchant for waterfowls. There will be nature tours, birding demos, food, drinks, arts, and crafts at the festival. Taste samples of whiskey on the first day of the event. The next day you’ll have birding cruises, birdwatching walks, art exhibits, and crafts demonstrations. Professional photographers also showcase pictures of waterfowls found on the Outer Banks. A brunch and sharing of event experiences will fill the last day. You can buy a general admission ticket for $5 or a VIP ticket for $50 for the Hatteras Village Waterfowl Festival.
New World Festival of the Arts
A gathering of artists and art-lovers is sure to be a soul-enriching event. The town of Manteo on Roanoke Island offers creatives and folks who have a passion for arts to exhibit and sell their artworks at the New World Festival of the Arts. This two-day annual event is happening on August 16 and 17. Over 75 artists on the East Coast will show their original creations at the event. Most of these artists are newcomers, which makes the event more exciting since new art styles will be introduced to the show. Artworks include drawings, oil paintings, watercolors, graphics, pottery, sculpture, and photography.
Outer Banks Watermelon Festival
The Outer Banks Watermelon Festival is an annual summer tradition in Nags Head, North Carolina, which celebrates watermelons. Most of the activities, games, and competitions at this fun event centered on this delicious fruit. There are also crafts, arts, inflatable water slides, tie-dye shirt making, face painting, food, and drinks. You can compete in the totally fun watermelon eating and seed spitting contests and win prizes. The Outer Banks Watermelon Festival will be on August 4. Attendees of all ages are free to enjoy the festivities.
Whalehead Wednesdays Wine and Beer Festival
This wine and beer tasting festival runs from late May through late September. Every Wednesday visitors can taste a variety of alcoholic beverages along with excellent food while watching the sunset over the Currituck Sound. There are also snack boxes for kids, charcuterie, and crafts for sale at the event. You can also listen to live music played by local bands. The festival is organized by the Whalehead Gallery, Northern Outer Banks Brewing Company, Weeping Radish Brewery, Vineyards on the Scuppernong, Sanctuary Vineyards, and Corolla Wine, Cigar & Gourmet. You can bring your friends, family, and even your pets to the event.
The WinterLights is a big event during the holiday season that starts from late November to January. Colorful decorations, displays, topiaries, and twinkling Christmas lights transform the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, North Carolina for this event. The entire place is like a magical kingdom that fills you with joy and mirth. Thank You Notes to Santa and Dinner with Santa are special events loved by kids. The whole family can also gather around an open fire on the Great Lawn to warm themselves in the cold winter and eat some snacks. Plus, there are folks wearing holiday character costumes to entertain the whole gang.
New Year in the New World
Be merry while welcoming the brand new year at downtown Manteo. The New Year in the New World is a festive celebration filled with food, drinks, activities, carnival games, and live entertainment. Local bands and DJs perform on stage in Magnolia Marketplace to play lively tunes for the audience. There’s also a bonfire and fireworks display that will surely bring smiles to the attendees. Throughout the venue, there will be food trucks and booths to fuel hungry tummy. This New Year’s celebration will start at 6 in the evening until midnight. It’s a free and safe event for the family to ring in the new year with a bang and positive vibes.
The Outer Banks has so much to offer when it comes to annual events and festivals. If I were you, you should join in the festivities to experience how residents in this region celebrate their rich and colorful culture. Take note of the events we have discussed here if you’re planning to visit the Outer Banks.
Locals and tourists have so much to enjoy and experience in this beautiful region of North Carolina. If you want a dose of fun and culture, attend these events. Now you have a reason to visit the Outer Banks region in North Carolina. Besides the beaches and other tourist attractions, this region celebrates the most enjoyable and brilliant festivals and events in the state. If you want live music, delectable foods, drinks, and fun activities, come to the Outer Banks and join its annual events.
Additional Out Banks Articles
Outer Banks, OBX, North Carolina Travel Guide
by Anthony Vaarwerk
Outer Banks Annual Events and Festivals
by Tiffany Wagner
Outer Banks North Carolina Local Attractions
by Robyn Adams