September 23, 2013

Brief downpour doesn’t faze crowd at ninth
annual Day at the Docks….WITH SLIDE SHOW


The ninth annual Day at the Docks kicked off with a bit of rain on Saturday morning-, Sept. 21, but the skies quickly cleared and the crowds enjoyed wonderful weather for the rest of the day.

“I can’t control the rain,” said Jon Kelmer, who organized the event for the first time this year.  “But everything I could delegate went off without a hitch and everybody seems to be enjoying themselves.”

The brief downpour did not damper enthusiasm or turnout for the event, which Lynne Foster, who started the event, said she thought was the largest crowd yet.   The Hatteras village working waterfront was packed all day long with visitors and island families as they listened to live music, watched cooking demonstrations, enjoyed local cuisine, and reveled in the “spirit of Hatteras.”

Following an official welcome from county commissioner Allen Burrus, local musicians Clifford Swain, Herb Price, and Kalman Gancsos took the main stage at 11 a.m. to entertain folks as they set out to explore the many festivities along the waterfront.

Festivalgoers flocked to the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation chowder cook-off in which 10 local restaurants presented their best seafood chowders for judgment.   

After sampling each of the chowders, guests voted for their favorite traditional Hatteras-style clam chowder and for the best overall chowder.

After a three-hour-long showdown, Hatteras Sol won the title of best overall chowder with a creamy seafood soup, and Dinky’s Caribbean fish chowder placed second.  Cap’n Rolo’s won first place for their traditional style chowder.

The Children’s Fishing Tournament also drew a large crowd, with 108 competitors lining the dock around Hatteras Harbor Marina hoping to catch the winning fish. 

And back by popular demand, the seafood throwdown was the last big event this year in which Steve Whitley and Ben McNamara from Rusty’s Surf and Turf in Buxton battled against Michael Jenkins and Adam Tyndall from The Mad Crabber Restaurant in Avon.

The teams had only one hour to plan and prepare a comprehensive dish using a mystery seafood ingredient that was to be judged on its taste, presentation, use of the whole animal, and originality.

As Jeffrey Aiken of Jeffrey’s Seafood in Hatteras, pulled the mystery ingredient out of a cooler--a 42-inch glimmering fish resembling a Spanish mackerel -- many observers looked on with confusion.  The chefs were tasked with ribbonfish, Aiken explained, because 50,000 pounds of it has been shipped off Hatteras Island this year, but is rarely prepared locally.

The contestants quickly shopped in the pantry for fresh vegetables, and once the timer began, went to work filleting their ribbonfish.

After the hour, the chefs presented their dishes to the panel of three judges, who then deliberated and determined the winning restaurant to be Rusty’s Surf and Turf.

Following the awards ceremony, the crowd walked to Hatteras Harbor to await the final and most touching event -- the blessing of the fleet.

Thirty-four boats participated in the Parade of Work Boats into the harbor, led by Capt. Ernie Foster on the Albatross, built for his father in 1937 and the oldest working boat in the fleet.

On the Albatross with Capt. Ernie and his wife, Lynne, were the Rev. Dwight Burrus and Pastor Roy of the Hatteras Assembly of God.

The Community Choir sang as the boats paraded into the harbor and took their places around Hatteras Harbor Marina.

The blessing then proceeded over the marine radio that could be heard loud and clear by those on the shore.

Capt. David Wilson gave the opening prayer, a prayer he gives each morning as the boats head out for their day of fishing. Dwight Burrus spoke, followed by commercial fisherman Bob McBride.

Eph O’Neal was introduced as the community’s oldest working waterman, and then Pastor Roy blessed the fleet.

A wreath to commemorate the watermen who have died was carried out of the harbor by Michael Peele in his historic shad boat and was released in the Pamlico Sound as darkness fell.

“Who fishes matters.”

These three words, emblazoned on a shirt worn by Brett Tolley of the Northwest Marine Alliance, encompass the focus and goal of Day at the Docks, a celebration to honor the waterman and the fishing heritage that continues to anchor this community.

to see list of winners in the Children's Fishing Tournament.


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