First Outer Banks Seafood Festival set for Oct. 20

By on August 27, 2012


After close to a year of planning, the Outer Banks is preparing for a community-wide seafood festival. 

The inaugural Outer Banks Seafood Festival presented by Towne Bank will be held outdoors on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the 10-acre soundfront Windmill Point site in Nags Head. 

The event is a collaborative effort of The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, Outer Banks Catch and the Outer Banks Restaurant Association. 

All four organizations have been working closely to bring this event together with some top-draw entertainment mixed with great cooking of fresh, local seafood, a bit of education and storytelling about the region’s fishing heritage, cooking demonstrations, local craftspeople and a whole lot of family fun.

Featuring free admission, a kid’s zone, boat exhibits and more, the festival will provide a fun and educational experience celebrating our local fishermen and seafood heritage.

While the concept of a large-scale, seafood festival on the Outer Banks has percolated for years,  it wasn’t until  fall, 2011 that the four organizations sat down and forged a partnership that allowed this event to take shape.

Last summer, the Festival’s Steering Committee comprised of dozens of volunteers began meeting in earnest to bring this inaugural event to life.  The response has been overwhelming:  local residents with various areas of expertise and event experience have all generously offered to help, and our local businesses have stepped up to make the Seafood Festival a day to remember.

The Outer Banks Seafood Festival is designed to capture the essence of what makes our community unique. 

Nearly 20 local restaurants have committed to serve their signature dishes featuring only fish and seafood caught along the Outer Banks – resulting in an unmatched “fusion-style” (small portion sizes) buffet from some of the best restaurants on the beach including:  Bad Bean, Bambino’s Little Italy, Basnight’s Lone Cedar, Black Pelican, Boardriders Grill, Captain George’s, Coastal Provisions, Cosmos, Darrell’s, Dirty Dicks, Mulligan’s Raw Bar & Grille, Ocean Boulevard, Red Sky Café, Sam & Omies, Steamers Shellfish To Go, The Brine and Bottle, and The Pit.

Festival-goers can purchase food and beverage tickets and sample a variety of dishes, including crab cakes, shrimp bisque, fish tacos, mahi mahi quesadillas, fried and grill scallops, grilled tuna and wahoo, blue crab chipotle salad, and much more.  Throw in sodas, iced tea, beer and wine and a few kid-friendly dishes, and the Festival has something to offer for the entire family.

Live entertainment is a big part of the day-long event.  Each hour will feature a different local band, including Blind Prophets, Aquarium, Old Enough to Know Better, Molasses Creek and The Crowd.   

The bands are provided as free entertainment, courtesy of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, to bring residents and visitors together and say “thanks” to all. 

In addition, local artisans will exhibit and offer their unique creations ranging from hand-crafted jewelry to beach shells and paintings — offering festival-goers a great opportunity to shop the wares of our gifted artists.

Prominently featured at the Festival is Outer Banks Catch, the program designed to promote and educate seafood lovers about the numerous advantages of requesting what’s in season and locally-caught. The Catch exhibit tent will feature fish and seafood displays, fishing gear demonstrations, working watermen, regulatory and advisory representatives, local cookbooks and a full day of storytelling and yarns spun by real fisherman as well as hands-on cooking demonstrations by top Outer Banks chefs.

The Festival is an extension of many other events that have been held to honor our fishing families and rich cultural heritage. 

For years, the Outer Banks held The Wanchese Seafood Festival, a celebration of the fishing community built on bringing fresh seafood to market. In Hatteras, the Day at the Docks takes place in Hatteras village each September. 

Like these events, the Outer Banks Seafood Festival reflects a desire to bring the Outer Banks history and heritage back to the forefront for visitors and locals alike.

With a soundfront location at about Milepost 15 on the Bypass, a full day of live entertainment, local artisans, educational fun for kids, and all the food you care to eat, attendance should be strong.  

Limited on-site parking is available for $10, but free shuttles will also be available for off-site parking. 

For more information on obtaining tickets, becoming a sponsor, or exhibiting at the event, visit

— Submitted by Neils Moore

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