fireworks for Hatteras or Ocracoke, but there will be July 4
By IRENE NOLAN
fireworks again this year on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, but there
will be celebrations of the July 4 holiday.
In past years, fireworks were a tradition in the villages of Hatteras,
Ocracoke, and Avon.
However, a tragic accident on Ocracoke two years ago has influenced the
way the islands celebrate Independence Day.
While employees of a company that contracts for fireworks shows were
setting up for the annual fireworks near the North Carolina Center for
Advanced Teaching (NCCAT) complex in Ocracoke, there was an explosion
that killed four people and badly injured one.
After that accident, the North Carolina General Assembly passed laws
requiring more detailed and intense training for anyone working with
fireworks – including local volunteers.
The stringent requirements for training have taken fireworks out of the
picture for smaller venues, especially those that relied on
volunteers. The training is simply not practical or
In addition, finding sites for the fireworks displays have become more
problematic in the small villages.
Hatteras village and Ocracoke at one time had fireworks displays that
were set off on seashore beaches, which is something that the Park
Service is no longer interested in permitting.
The Ocracoke Civic and Business Association’s July 4 Committee tried
really hard to bring back the fireworks, but after several weeks of
exploring different sites from which to launch the display, the members
ran out of options.
Fred Westervelt, who is on the committee, said that NCCAT declined the
use of the traditional site near their building in order to protect
He said the committee had explored the possibility of using a barge out
in Pamlico Sound as a launch site, but ultimately both the state and
private businesses declined, citing liability concerns.
Within the village, there are no safe land sites for launching, and the
National Park Service has forbidden the use of the beach, Westervelt
Another possibility, using Big Foot Island, a spoil island, was
declined by environmental agencies, he said.
Nevertheless, the committee has scheduled a full day of July 4
activities on Ocracoke, including the popular Old Time Parade.
The schedule is:
- The Boy
kick off the day with a flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. at the Ocracoke
- The Sand
Contest will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon, organized by Jennifer
- A Classic
will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on the Pony Island Motel lawn.
Lighthouse will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors
will be allowed to go inside the ground floor but will not be able to
climb the stairs.
- Sky divers
late morning or early afternoon, depending on the weather and the wind,
in the grassy area near the Pony Island Restaurant.
parade will begin at 3 and go through the village.
Davis will do
storytelling from 5 to 6 p.m. at Books to be Red.
Philip Howard doing the hog calling and David Tweedie providing the
music will be at 6:30 p.m. in Community Square.
- Live music
continue the rest of the evening with either Molasses Creek or Coyote.
children will be held on the lawn across from the Island Inn.
all these activities are pending.
On Hatteras, both the tri-villages and Hatteras village plan events.
Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy said there will be an event, sponsored by the
Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Civic Association, at 2 p.m. on July 4 at the
Community Building. It will include the now traditional
of the Declaration of Independence and other activities
In Hatteras village, the Hatteras Village Civic Association and the
Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation are again sponsoring a street fair.
Last year, the celebration ran from late afternoon into the evening. It
was called Freedom Fest and included music, food, and arts and crafts.
Also, at the Hatteras event, the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation will
have a drawing to choose the winner of a one-week vacation at
Serendipity, the beach cottage that starred in the feature film,
“Nights in Rodanthe.” Go to the foundation’s website, www.hicf.org
information and to purchase tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at
Blue Pelican Gallery in Hatteras, Every Blooming Thing in Frisco,
Buxton Village Books in Buxton, Risky Business Seafood in Avon, Island
Convenience and Vacation Traditions in Rodanthe.
More information on these island events will be published as they
reporter Connie Leinbach also contributed to this article.)
All residents and visitors should remember that the use of all
fireworks, including sparklers, is prohibited on Hatteras and Ocracoke
islands, including the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National
Seashore. Anyone who sees illegal fireworks should call 911