Fall means festival season everywhere, but there is only seafood-themed event that occurs in the heart of a fishing village located on the edge of the string of barrier islands known as the Outer Banks. Day at the Docks, A Celebration of Hatteras Island Watermen is held annually in front of the marinas in Hatteras Village. A dream weekend for fans of fishing, seafood, history and good community, this year, the free, two-day event will be held on Sept. 15 and 16.
Begin the weekend by attending the Hurricane Awareness Town Hall at 1 p.m. at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. Presented by the National Weather Service - Newport Office the town hall is a great place to learn about hurricanes so you can better prepare for them.
Later that day, Talk of the Villages: Reflections on Fishing as a Living, will feature the first-ever viewing of a photo documentary by award winning local photographer Daniel Pullen as well as an interactive conversation with local, commercial fishermen.
Beginning at 6:30, this free event will feature opportunities to view Pullen’s new, traveling art show as well as talk with fishermen about their work and the joys and frustrations of the seafood industry.
Talk of the Villages will be held at the Hatteras Village Community Building, located between the post office and fire station on NC 12 in Hatteras Village.
Saturday is a day full of events for food and fishing lovers of all ages. For folks who like to eat and cook seafood, don't miss Steve Bailey's clam chowder at the Outer Banks Catch tables. Owner of Risky Business Seafood, Bailey's chowder presentation is always a favorite.
Also at the Outer Banks Catch tables, “Wetland Riders” author Robert Fritchey will be on hand at various times throughout the day to sign his books which also includes “Let the Good Times Roll: Louisiana Cashes in Its Chips with the 1995 Net Ban".
And be sure to make it to one of the most popular locations of the day, the seafood throwdown tent.
At 1:30, students of Cape Hatteras High School culinary teacher Evan Ferguson will kick off a wild-caught, local shrimp extravaganza. Local students will lead the demonstration.
The main event, the Shrimp and Grits Throwdown will follow the demo. This year, there is a new spin on the annual event; the mystery fish is being revealed beforehand! Watch two North Carolina shrimp and grits experts make their special recipes. Judges will decide who made the tastiest offering and will award the winning plate. You might even get a taste; limited samples will be available.
If acquiring a new recipe isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities; you can learn how to clean a fish with the good folks from Oden’s Dock or try your hand at the Concrete Marlin Contest. Professional captains and mates vie against each other and time as they "hook" and "gaff" a concrete cylinder that replicates the weight of a fighting marlin. It has become so popular that a new division, the Concrete Sailfish, has been added for the younger fishermen.
Be sure to stick around for the Blessing of the Fleet at Hatteras Harbor Marina in which a historic shad boat will place a wreath on the water to honor watermen who have "crossed the bar" for their final time.
Day at the Docks began as a way to celebrate the "Spirit of Hatteras" when the village recovered from Hurricane Isabel in 2003 as an intact community, anchored by the commercial and charter fishermen. The now annual event is a confirmation of the strength of community, heritage and living traditions of the waterman. The family friendly celebration features seafood cooking demos, fishing boats and gear, fishing industry skills contests and competitions, live music and ‘life on the water’ games for children. For more information, please visit hatterasonmymind.com.