June 11, 2013
Ocrafolk Festival has a good crowd despite threat from Andrea
…WITH SLIDE SHOW
By CONNIE LEINBACH
first tropical system of the season threatened, but Ocrafolk Festival
organizers lucked out when Tropical Storm Andrea skirted Ocracoke after
a drenching Thursday, leaving sunny weekend weather in its wake.
was a great weekend,” said festival director David Tweedie, who also is
the fiddler for Molasses Creek, festival hosts, about the Friday
through Sunday, June 7-9, event. “We lucked out.”
said, Andrea did cause some ferry suspensions Friday, and Tweedie
thought that attendance, while good, may have been down by about 20
percent from previous years.
“But an amazing number of people did manage to get here,” he said.
the umbrella of nonprofit Ocracoke Alive, the festival is a music, art,
and storytelling event featuring musicians and artisans mostly from
North Carolina. It has been a free festival, but over the winter
festival organizers developed new ways to generate revenues to pay for
the costs of performers, production, and expansion this 13th year.
year, the festival sold souvenir buttons and this year, the two types
of buttons were called “admission” buttons, but they were voluntary.
“The buttons provide an easy means of folks attending to support it and keep the festival healthy,” Tweedie explained.
was one of several changes the festival made this year to help make it
more financially stable. Another new aspects to the festival this year
was the Friday Night Feed being catered by the Pony Island Restaurant
and festival-goers paying for it. In prior years, the Friday night
event was a community potluck followed by an art auction.
year, the art auction was held in the newly renovated Berkley Manor and
was organized by islander Dolores Gilbert, who focused the auction on
Ocracoke and Outer Banks artists. Beer and wine also were available for
Though the final numbers are not in, Tweedie said the auction this year doubled the revenues of the past two years.
Another new addition was the Paddy’s Holler Beer Garden in the front yard of Natural Selections.
the day-long concerts at the various stages at Books to be Red and
Howard Street, concerts were held in Community Square, the Community
Store, the Community Center, Deepwater Theater and in Ocracoke Coffee,
which had a late-evening singer-songwriter circle.
this year included the Alberti Flea Circus at the Kids Stage by Jim
Alberti and the Paperhand Puppets of Saxapahaw, N.C., which paraded
larger-than-life puppets two times through the festival grounds.
The artisans overall were pleased with the festival.
had expected the crowds and sales to be down, but I had a good show,”
said oil painter Lena Ennis. “There were not as many people, but they
were enjoying themselves.”
Christy Eubanks, a potter, admitted that she’d had her doubts about the weather while on the pitching ferry on Friday.
“But it ended up being a beautiful weekend,” she said. “I’m sure many people got scared off by the storm.”
the Friday ferries from Swan Quarter were canceled, Mary Jo and Dean
from Greenville (who declined to give their last name) were undeterred
and drove around to the Hatteras Ferry.
“Everyone is so friendly,” Mary Jo said. “We like the intimacy of this festival because we can see the groups.”
love the spirit of the people and the talent,” said Ginger Candelora of
Kitty Hawk, who was part of a group of several Kitty Hawk residents
recruited by Beverly Chambers to attend the weekend event.
friends bring their friends,” Chambers explained, noting she has
attended the festival for 12 years. “We’ve gone to other places
to see other groups, but we think the best talent is right here on
Ocracoke. It’s the event of the year for us.”
Jolly, a singer-songwriter who packed the Live Oak Stage at Books to be
Red, performed at the festival for the first time and was charmed by
the island and the appreciative audience.
“It’s the kind of
crowd that listens to the music and the lyrics,” she said. “I’ve never
had an audience like this. It’s one-of-a-kind.”
Pat and Jack
Eichmann of Kitty Hawk had their own special seat on their golf cart
which Pat needed to use due to recent hip surgery.
a relaxed casualness here,” Pat said about Ocracoke, noting that she
was happy to find woodcarvers Vic and Ellen Berg from whom they
commissioned a special piece while at the festival, then learned that
the Bergs live in Kitty Hawk, too.
“The people are wonderful,” she continued, “the locals, the performers….”
Her words were echoed by others about the specialness many feel about Ocracoke.
“This is a unique, beautiful place,” said Candelora.” There’s just magic here.”
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