June 27, 2008
Ocracoke’s July 4 celebration is an all-day event
By SUNDAE HORN
Celebrating Independence Day is an all-day event on Ocracoke, beginning
with the flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. and culminating with a
fireworks display at 9 p.m. In between are activities for all ages to
The Ocracoke Boy Scout troop will raise the flag at 9 a.m. at the Ocracoke School circle on School Road.
As soon as the flag is flying, the 32nd Annual Sand Sculpture Contest
will get underway at 9:30. The contest is held at the Ocracoke
Lifeguarded Beach and is a family favorite – children can enter
as individuals or in groups (judged by their age category), or along
with the grownups in family groups. The competition is fierce, with
amazing feats of sand engineering completed every year. Ocracoke
ponies, mermaids, and Blackbeard are perennially popular, and
there’s always a sculpture or two inspired by current events.
There are plenty of spectators who walk the beach marveling at the
sculpture and voting for their favorite to win the People’s
Choice award. Sharon Sjoblom, who’s been the volunteer organizer
of the sand sculpture contest for years, announces the awards and hands
out cash prizes at noon. The sculptures remain until wind and tide wash
Back in the village, there’s more to do. The National Park
Service brings a few of the Ocracoke ponies to the village, and puts
them behind the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum from 10 a.m. until
noon. NPS staff and volunteers will be there to answers questions
about the pony herd. They also allow folks to pet the ponies and feed
them carrots or hay.
From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Ocracoke Lighthouse is open for public
viewing, a rare event. Ocracoke residents Chester Lynn and Dale Mutro
volunteer each July 4 to open the lighthouse (the bottom only;
the stairway is closed) and answer questions about this Ocracoke icon.
Walking or biking to the lighthouse is recommended as parking is very
It’s hard to miss the Classic Car show on the lawn at the Pony
Island Motel on Highway 12. They’re on display from 10 a.m. until
2 p.m. The crowd “oohs” and “ahhs” over the
mint-condition Chevys and Fords, while old men brag about the days when
those cars were brand new. Many of the cars will make another
appearance in the parade later in the day.
After 2 p.m. or so, it’s time to find a spot to watch the
Ocracoke Old Time Parade. The parade begins at 3 and winds down through
the village to the Ocracoke Preservation Museum. The parade often
includes a motley assortment of pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers,
and skateboarders of all ages, as well as decorated trucks, classic
cars, and traditional floats, and lots of red, white, and blue.
Ocracokers – friends, families, businesses, organizations –
enter floats, but just as many parade participants are visitors. Some
families come to Ocracoke year after year to join the parade. People
display their patriotism, of course, but also their creativity, with
entries that are funny, timely, and clever.
The parade committee made some slight changes in this year’s
policies. Now all parade entries must be registered by 6 p.m. on July
3. The organizers also plan to enforce their no-alcohol, no-obscenity,
and no-water balloon policies with the help of the Ocracoke deputies.
At the parade’s end, everyone will gather at the OPS Museum to
hear live music performed by local musicians, followed by the singing
of the National Anthem and the awarding of parade prizes.
The next event (after everyone goes home to rest and/or eat too much)
is the grand finale at 9 p.m. – the fireworks! The pyrotechnic
display is shot off from behind the NCCAT building (the old U.S. Coast
Guard building), and can be seen from all around the harbor and
village. Walking or biking to the harbor is suggested, as the NPS
parking lot will be blocked off for the fireworks. (Personal possession
or use of fireworks is illegal on Ocracoke, so please enjoy the
Ocracoke July 4 Celebration for 2008
Sponsored by the Ocracoke Preservation Society and the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association
9 am: FLAG RAISING CEREMONY – School Circle, School Road, Ocracoke Boy Scouts
9:30 am – noon: 32nd ANNUAL SAND SCUPLTURE CONTEST – NPS Lifeguard Beach
10 am – noon: OCRACOKE PONIES – behind the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum
10 am – 2 pm – CLASSIC CARS – lawn at Pony Island Motel Pool area
10 am – 2 pm – OCRACOKE LIGHTHOUSE – open for public viewing (walking suggested; very limited parking)
3 pm – OLD TIME OCRACOKE PARADE – must pre-register by 6
pm, July 3. Forms may be picked up at the Post Office or the OPS
PARADE ROUTE – Line up on HWY 12 beginning at Capt. Ben’s
Restaurant, follow HWY 12 south, left onto Lighthouse Road, right onto
Creek Rd., right onto Silver Lake Dr., follow road around Silver Lake
Harbor to the OPS Museum.
JUDGING WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE ISLAND INN BALCONY
AT PARADE’S END – OPS Museum – National Anthem, Entertainment, Awards for Parade Entrants
9 pm – FIREWORKS – Behind the NCCAT Campus (Walking is suggested. Large parking area will be blocked off)
RAIN DATE IS JULY 5
INFORMATION ON PARADE ENTRIES
The Ocracoke Parade welcomes entries in three categories: Pedestrian,
Wheels (bikes, scooters, skateboards) and Floats (cars, trucks,
Registration forms are available at the Ocracoke Preservation Society
Museum or the Ocracoke Post Office, and the forms can be dropped off at
the OPS Museum or mailed to PO Box 792, Ocracoke, NC 27960.
Registration can also be done by e-mail – simply provide a contact
person’s name, home address, home phone number, and Ocracoke or
cell phone number, and choose the category you wish to be in, and email
it to [email protected]
Parade registrations must be received by 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 3.
All parade entrants must be in line along Highway 12 by 2 p.m. for the
judges to preview the pedestrians, floats and wheels. The judges will
then proceed to the Island Inn to watch the parade go by. Prizes will
be awarded at the parade’s end at the OPS Museum, following the
singing of the National Anthem.