Day at the Docks will be a four-day event this year
….WITH SLIDE SHOWS
By JORDAN TOMBERLIN
at the Docks, the annual festival held each fall on the working
waterfront of Hatteras village, originally began in the wake of
Hurricane Isabel recovery efforts as a way to celebrate the spirit of
Hatteras village and to honor the enduring strength and heritage of its
community—a community anchored by its commercial and charter fishermen.
In the seven years since the first official event, Day at the Docks has
grown from a small, community gathering, attended by a couple hundred
people -- most of them islanders -- to an authentic and vibrant
showcase of the island’s fishing traditions and culture, attracting
thousands of visitors from at least 15 different states and generating
recognition and appreciation of professional watermen, as well as
educating the public about the work they do and the organizations that
As Lynne Foster, the founder and organizer of Day at the Docks, put it,
almost everyone that lives on this island has some direct connection to
the water and to its fishing heritage.
It was with that knowledge, and very much in the original spirit of Day
at the Docks, that Foster decided to expand the celebration this
year—from the one-day festival it has traditionally been, to a four-day
event, beginning on Thursday evening, Sept. 13, and ending on Sunday
Foster said that the idea came about while she was discussing the event
with Susan West of Buxton and Niaz Dorry, a resident of Gloucester,
Mass., and a coordinating director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine
Alliance—an organization dedicated to restoring and enhancing a marine
system capable of supporting healthy, diverse, and abundant marine life
and human uses.
According to Foster, Dorry, who has experience planning and
orchestrating these kinds of events, encouraged her to, “look beyond
how much fun [the event] was going to be and think about what it is
that you really want to achieve.”
This new focus led Foster and West to consider how Day at the Docks
could become an even more potent tool for highlighting not only the
economic importance of the fishing industry, but also its cultural
To achieve this, Foster and the Day at the Docks team are bringing
together a diverse array of watermen and women from other small fishing
communities throughout the nation, as well as a variety of authors,
organizations, and locals to participate in this year’s expanded
celebration—one that will include public forums, gallery talks, local
seafood cooking demonstrations, and tastings, ticketed dinners, and, of
course, all the activities that Day at the Docks attendees have come to
know and love—including the parade of boats and the Blessing of the
In addition, a peripheral, though no less important goal of expanding
the event, is to attract more visitors and keep them here for a longer
period of time—to increase immersion in the local culture and provide
an off-season boost to local businesses.
“I’m really looking forward to using different venues,” Foster said of
this year’s celebration, “to moving more people throughout the
Indeed, on top of all the regular festivities that take place along the
village waterfront and at the Hatteras Village Community Building, this
year’s schedule will boast events at the historic Seaside Inn, The
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, and Lee Robinson General Store.
In the end, Foster hopes that the expanded event will help to uplift
the local fishing community, inspire young fishermen to become leaders
in the fishing industry, and increase educational opportunities and
cultural access for island visitors.
At its heart, Day at the Docks has always been about celebrating the
waterman heritage and working to ensure the future of fishing on
Hatteras Island. This year’s expanded event represents a big step
forward in that direction.
NEW THIS YEAR
All the events taking place on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday will be new
additions to the Day at the Docks lineup. In addition, there will be a
few fresh faces on the schedule for Saturday. Here’s a preview of what
attendees can look forward to this year:
Thursday, Sept. 13:
- “Talk of the Villages: Fishermen, Fish, Food and Livelihood.”
will be a free and open public discussion featuring fishing industry
“heroes” from across the nation—individuals who have overcome great
odds and obstacles in order to preserve fisheries and continue fishing.
The discussion will be moderated by Susan West and Dr. Barbara
Garrity-Blake, co-authors of “Fish House Opera.” Guest speakers will
Densmore, a commercial fisherman and accomplished poet from Alaska, who
spent four nights adrift on the Bering Sea—in a life-raft, without a
survival suit—and who, in the process of recovering from frostbite that
left him temporarily unable to use his legs, pioneered the Prince
William Sound Herring Roe Dive Fishery.
Wilson, a fourth-generation shrimper, mother of five, and author from
Seadrift, Texas, who decided to take on a multi-billion dollar
corporation responsible for polluting the Gulf Coast bay where she
Dorry, a Gloucester, Mass., resident who is a coordinating director of
the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance; a member of the executive
committees of the National Family Farm Coalition and Granite State
Fish; an advisor to the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and
the Global Environment, and a noted proponent of small-scale,
traditional, and indigenous fishing communities.
Fritchey, a Pennsylvania native who traded a career in medical
parasitology to become a commercial redfish netter in Louisiana.
Fritchey, who was put out of business by Louisiana’s 1995 legislative
net-ban, has published two books defending the traditional fishery
(“Wetland Riders”) and detailing the history of the net-ban
controversies that came as a result of the most expensive and elaborate
“environmental education” campaign in the nation’s history (“Gulf Wars:
Southern Sportsmen on the March”).
Friday, Sept. 14:
- “Sons of the Pioneers”
event, free and open to the public, will be a gallery talk that will
highlight the charter fishing industry and will feature stories from
villagers Spurgeon Stowe, Ernie Foster, Dwight Burrus, Homer Styron,
and Edgar Styron—the sons of islanders who pioneered charter fishing on
talk will be moderated by Danny Couch and is slated to take place in
the soon-to-be opening charter fishing exhibit at the Graveyard of the
- “Celebrating North Carolina”
event will offer guests the opportunity to sample North Carolina beer,
wine, and seafood while enjoying music from local musician Wes Lassiter
and meeting noted author Kevin Duffus.
event will be held at Lee Robinson General Store and will be open to
the public with a requested donation to the Waterman’s Relief Fund,
which is administered by Hatteras United Methodist Church.
Saturday, Sept. 15:
In addition to all the usual festivities that take place along the
waterfront on Saturday, there will be a few events and guests on the
main stage this year.
- Author Readings and Guest Speakers:
of the guest speakers from Thursday night’s forum will make an
appearance on the main stage on Saturday, including Dave Densmore, who
will read some of his poetry; Robert Fritchey and Susan West and
Barbara Garrity-Blake, who will read from their book “Fish House
Opera,” and Niaz Dorry. In addition, North Carolina author David
Cecelski and Smith Island, Maryland, crabber Janice Marshall will be
will speak about traditional fishing songs in a bit called “Music all
over the Ocean,” and Marshall will speak about crab-processing
cooperative that she and four other women started after their
traditional home-based crab-picking operation on Smith Island was shut
down by the Maryland government.
- Seafood Throw-down
major—and exciting—new event this year will be the “Seafood
Throw-down.” This will be an Iron Chef”-style cooking competition that
will feature two local chefs and a locally sourced, mystery seafood,
which won’t be revealed until the competition begins and will be
donated by Hatteras commercial fishermen.
chefs may bring with them their favorite sous chef, cooking vessels and
utensils, presentation plates, and three ingredients. Once the
mystery ingredient has been announced, chefs will have one hour to
select North Carolina produce and herbs from the throw-down pantry
(which will be stocked from the Conetoe Family Life Center’s community
garden) and prepare their meals for the judges.
- Fisherman’s Dinner
- Details will be released closer to the date.
Sunday, Sept. 16:
- Shrimp and Grits Lunch
culminating event will be a ticketed shrimp and grits lunch on the lawn
of the Seaside Inn with guest speaker Elizabeth Wiegand, the author of
“The Outer Banks Cookbook.”
OLD FAVORITES THAT WILL BE RETURNING
The Hatteras village waterfront will be chock-full of traditional Day
at the Docks events and activities on Saturday, including the kid’s
fishing competition, the crab races, survival suit races, net-hanging
and concrete marlin competitions, seafood harvest and cooking
demonstrations, fish-print T-shirt-making, the mullet toss, and of
course, the ever-popular chowder cook-off.
In addition, the education and merchandise tents will be set up in the
parking lot of Willis Landing, and the main stage, which will feature a
variety of guests throughout the day, will be set up just across from
Foster’s Quay, the home of the Albatross Fleet, which, it should be
noted, will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year.
And, of course, no Day at the Docks would be complete without the
annual parade of working boats and the Blessing of the Fleet.
After the blessing of the fleet, and in addition to the fishermen’s
dinner, there will again be a dance on the lawn of the Hatteras
Community Building, featuring musical guest, Premier.
TENTATIVE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thursday, Sept. 13
4 p.m. -- “Talk of the Villages: Fishermen, Fish, Food and Livelihood” at the Seaside Inn
Friday, Sept. 14
2 p.m. -- “Sons of the Pioneers” at The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
4 p.m. -- “Celebrating North Carolina” at Lee Robinson General Store
Saturday, Sept. 15
10 a.m. -- Entertainment and activities along the waterfront (master
schedule for performers, speakers, and activities still to be
6 p.m. -- Parade of working boats into the harbor and the Blessing of the Fleet
7:30 p.m. -- Fishermen’s Dinner at Seaside Inn
8 p.m. -- Dance, featuring Premier, at the Hatteras Village Community Building
Sunday, Sept. 16
1 p.m. Shrimp and Grits Lunch with Elizabeth Wiegand at Seaside Inn
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, or to sponsor any of the above events or activities, visit the Day at the Docks website, www.dayatthedocks.org, or contact Lynne Foster at [email protected].
Click here to see slide shows from the 2010 Day the Docks and the Parade of Boats and Blessing of the Fleet.