August 23, 2013
Ninth annual Day at the Docks is Saturday,
Sept. 21, at the Hatteras waterfront
By LARA RIZZUTI
just off the side of Highway 12, the banner announcing the Day at the
Docks catches the attention of people cruising into Hatteras
village. For newcomers to the area, the large red and blue banner
inspires curiosity, but, for those within the community, it evokes a
sense of pride.
Day at the Docks is an annual fall festival that
celebrates the spirit of Hatteras -- a community deeply rooted in its
fishing heritage and dedicated to the preservation of the local fishing
Lynne Foster, the founder of Day at the Docks,
created the event to honor the commercial and charter fisherman who
support and enrich the community -- rain or shine.
drew inspiration for the event after enduring the devastating effects
of Hurricane Isabel in 2003, which isolated Hatteras village from the
remainder of the island for two months. During this time, among
the first people able to return to work and stimulate the stagnant
economy were the watermen.
After two months of seclusion,
Hatteras and Ocracoke villagers gathered to celebrate their survival
with desserts and a musical gala. Foster realized that she
“wanted to extend the celebration by finding a way to welcome other
people and, at the same time, to recognize that the anchors of our
community are our fishermen.”
Over the years, Foster organized
the event as it grew beyond its small, community-gathering origins, and
it now attracts hundreds of visitors from at least 17 states outside of
Despite the vast expansion
of the festival, Foster always kept the focus upon the fishing
industry, which gained respect and recognition throughout many fishing
For the past eight years, Foster organized
the festival and cultivated a revered event that truly encompasses the
spirit of Hatteras village. But this year, she passed the torch
on to the next generation, which she believes will offer a fresh point
Jon Kelmer, a member of the Hatteras Village
Civic Association and former charter boat captain, has maintained a
strong connection to the fishing community ever since he was 11 years
old and began working at the Hatteras Harbor. He gladly accepted the
task of organizing the event this year.
has planned several local events in the past and said that he wanted to
be more involved in the community. He also hopes that his
involvement may encourage the younger people in the community to “be
more civically-minded and to want the village to prosper in the years
Kelmer shares Foster’s vision for Day at the Docks
and plans to keep the festival focused on the fishing industry and the
heritage of the Hatteras Island watermen.
The ninth annual
Day at the Docks begins on Friday, Sept. 20, with events sponsored by
local businesses, and ends on Saturday, Sept. 21, after the Blessing of
the Fleet and a nighttime lawn dance with live music.
Sept. 20, at 2 p.m. at the Hatteras Community Building, The Island Free
Press will host a presentation by The National Weather Service in
Newport, N.C. Meteorologists John Cole and David Glenn will talk
about the agency, forecasting, hurricanes, and the planned improvements
in forecasting storm surge. And they will answer your questions.
Saturday, Kelmer has planned a day full of music, seafood cooking
demonstrations, and competitions on the Hatteras village working
While walking by the commercial
fishing and charter boats docked on the waterfront, festivalgoers may
watch a fish-cleaning demonstration by Steve Bailey or cheer on a blue
crab racing toward the finish line.
of the traditional events and activities will be returning this year,
including the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation’s Chowder Cook-off,
survival suit races, fish-print T-shirt making, the mullet toss, the
kid’s fishing competition, and the concrete marlin competition.
Seafood Throw-down, featuring two dueling chefs and one secret
ingredient, will also make a comeback this year. It was a real crowd
pleaser last year.
You can take a tour of the Coast Guard’s
rollover boat or kids can practice repairing the “wet-trainer” that
simulates sea conditions. Both the Coast Guard demonstration and
the education tent will be set up all day.
event sponsored by the North Carolina Coastal Federation will be making
its debut this year. This event features a boat ride from Oden’s
Dock to a nearby wetland restoration site where festivalgoers may lend
a hand in preserving the shoreline.
As the day begins to
wind down, the annual parade of working boats can be followed down to
the Hatteras Harbor Marina, where the Blessing of the Fleet will be
The festivities will end Saturday evening with a lawn
dance from 8 until 11 p.m., featuring Lady J and the Jives, at the
Hatteras Community Building.
For the complete schedule of this year’s events, click here.