Day at the Docks is returning in September for the first time since 2017

By on August 29, 2022

Blessing of the Fleet at the Day at the Docks Festival.

By Joy Crist | Island Free Press

The annual Day at the Docks (DATD) festival is returning to Hatteras village after a lengthy hiatus, with a wide array of both familiar and brand-new events on the two-day schedule.

This is the first time that DATD has been held since 2017, as the event was canceled in 2018 and 2019 due to hurricanes, (Florence and Dorian), and was subsequently canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I think, honestly, putting this thing back together after a five-year hiatus has been more involved and more difficult than building an event from the ground up,” said organizer Karla Jarvis. “There’s a skeleton, so you have to tweak what’s there and tuck in new stuff to fill up space where things are no longer an option. But this event, as hard as it is to pull off, means something to our village, it’s a tradition. And it means something to the island, and also to our visitors.”

“We understand this, and so coming together to pull this off, it’s a community effort with a lot of hands involved,” added Jarvis. “And it is a celebration, a celebration of the spirit of Hatteras. That’s why we started it, and that’s what it means.”

Initially launched as a one-day event in 2004, Day at the Docks was created as a community-wide effort to recover after 2003’s devastating Hurricane Isabel, which cut a new inlet south of the village, effectively separating Hatteras from the rest of the world for weeks.

Aimed at reviving the “Spirit of Hatteras,” the event’s roots have always been anchored to the local commercial and charter fishing industries, and DATD continues to be a confirmation of the strength of community, heritage, and the living traditions of island watermen.

Though this backbone remains the same, a lot has changed in 18 years.

DATD maintains its focus on life on the water, but now the event spans two days, with a number of new activities being added year after year. Even so, longtime visitors and attendees will be happy to know that many beloved DATD signature events are returning for 2022, with more activities being announced as the September weekend draws near.

The fun kicks off on Friday, September 16, with the Seafood Under the Stars event, a six-course, chef-prepared dinner at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. Tickets are required and can be purchased online at

The docks of Hatteras village will be brimming with activity as Saturday arrives, with an array of demonstrations, competitions, local vendors and organizations, live music, and so much more. Contests like the popular Concrete Marlin Competition are already on the books for 2022, as are other popular events like the Fishy 5K and Dock Dash, and the Youth Fishing Tournament.

The annual Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation Chowder Cook-Off – a source of bragging rights for local chefs and restaurants everywhere – is also already scheduled for this year’s DATD celebration, allowing attendees to sample some of the best chowders on the island.

2022 will also feature a Seafood Taco Truck throwdown with two competing chefs – Eduardo Chavez and Lalo Rebollo – fighting for the title of best taco on the island.

Also true to form, Saturday will cumulate with the annual Blessing of the Fleet, which has been a tradition since Day at the Docks’ inaugural event. In fact, when Day at the Docks was canceled in 2021, the Blessing of the Fleet still occurred to give islanders a taste of the festival’s roots.

More details about scheduled activities will continue to trickle in as Day at the Docks approaches, but in the meantime, locals and visitors alike should save the date for September 16-17 to discover, (or re-discover), everything that this Hatteras-centric celebration has to offer.

A complete schedule of events is listed below. Visitors can also follow Day at the Dock’s Facebook Page at, which announces activities and events as they are confirmed.

2022 Day at the Docks Line Up

Friday, Sept. 16

  • 6:30 p.m. – Seafood Under the Stars, 6 course Chef Prepared Dinner, Hatteras Civic Center (sold out)

Saturday, Sept. 17

Demos and Dock Chats: Under the Festival Tent (we can set up a festival tent for these)

  • 10:00 a.m. – Net Hanging Demo with Jake Griffin
  • 11:00 a.m. – Blue Crab Life Cycle with Shirley Wicker
  • 11:00-12:00 p.m. – Fishing Cleaning Demo with Bennet Langowski, Oden’s Dock
  • 12:00 p.m. – Farming Oysters with Todd Ballance
  • 2:00 p.m. – Pound Nets 101
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. – Fishing Cleaning Demo with Bennet Langowski, Oden’s Dock

Stage Line Up

  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. – Clifford and Company
  • 11:30-12:15 p.m. – Keeper James Chalet, storytelling
  • 12:15-1:00 p.m. – Bob Zentz
  • 2:00-3:30 p.m. – Seafood Throwdown
  • 4:00 p.m. – Awards Ceremony

Special Events

  • 8:00 a.m. – Fishy 5K and Dock Dash, Hatteras United Methodist Church
  • 10:00-3:00 p.m. – Children’s Fish Print T’s, Foster’s Quay
  • 10:00-4:00 p.m. – Bounce House and Snow Cones, Oden’s Dock
  • 10:00-4:00 p.m. – T-Shirt sale, T-Shirt Tent
  • 10:00-4:00 p.m. – Free Ice Cream
  • 11:00-3:00 p.m. – Food and refreshments, waterfront
  • 11:00-1:00 p.m. – Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation Chowder Cook-off
  • 10:00-1:00- Sign up for the Youth Fishing Tournament, Jeffrey’s Seafood
  • 11:00 a.m. – Concrete Marlin Competition
  • 1:00 p.m. – Youth Fishing Tournament, Hatteras Harbor Marina
  • 2:00 p.m. – Local Seafood Throwdown, Seafood Tacos Competition, main stage
  • 4:00 p.m. – Awards Ceremony, main stage, Willis Boat Landing
  • 6:00 p.m. – Working Boat Parade and Blessing of the Fleet, village harbor


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See what people are saying:

  • Just a mom

    Thank you for sharing this information with us! Never would have known about it. We hope to go and enjoy a Hatteras heritage day! Cool!

    Tuesday, Aug 30 @ 8:42 am