September 9, 2014

Four-day bluegrass block party
planned for Oct. 9-12 in Hatteras village

Every acoustic music fan knows that nothing compliments good bluegrass, Irish, Old Time and American Roots music like the sun and the sea, but it took a happy accident to bring some of the best musical talent on the East Coast to sleepy little Hatteras village at the (almost) very end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. 

On Columbus Day weekend -- from Thursday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 12 -- nine bluegrass, roots and Irish bands will perform over four days at the Hatteras Civic Center during “Hatterasity! A Bluegrass Block Party.” 

The event will feature food from the Frisco and Hatteras Volunteer Fire Departments, local musicians and vendors, and guest bands from New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.

All proceeds will benefit the Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men's outreach program.

“I spent a lot of time on Manteo during the '70’s while I was going to school in Durham, and I fell in love with the Core Banks and the Outer Banks in the years I was there.  So when my wife decided to go there on vacation in 2005, I was excited to see the place again,” explained event coordinator Peter Pappalardo, an inveterate bluegrass musician who resides in eastern Pennsylvania.

While time had wrought huge changes to all of the Outer Banks, Pappalardo found Hatteras village still had the native charm and attitude he remembered. He bought “a pile of sand” on Lonesome Valley Road in 2006, and in 2012 build a cottage there.

“I wanted to live someplace similar to my birthplace, a village called Shawnee-on-Delaware, and Hatteras village just felt right.  And lo and behold, right in my front yard was the Civic Center,” Pappalardo said.

A casual comment about a doing a charity event with local storekeeper and Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus in 2012 led to a conversation, then to an evening concert to benefit The Cape Hatteras Methodist Men. Attendees greatly enjoyed the show, and Hatterasers encouraged Pappalardo to expand the event.

“October is a great time of the year to come here, and this should be a wonderful way to encourage people to visit, so I was happy to support the festival,” Burrus said. He put Pappalardo in touch with the Outer Bands Visitors Bureau, which quickly agreed to sponsor the event.

Over the course of the festival season in 2013, Pappalardo called in some favors and invited some of his favorite musicians to join him in the event.

“It wasn’t a very hard sell. I mean, first of all, the bluegrass festival circuit up north pretty much ends in September, and musicians hate to just sit around. And then, it’s the Outer Banks at the very best time of year.  The water is warm, the fishing is great, and it’s so much easier to get around without a bazillion people on the roads,” Pappalardo said.

“We can’t wait to get down there and play.  Bluegrass and blue water in October?  Heck, back home they are piling up the firewood and filling up the root cellars, because winter starts early in central PA,” Jeremy Nelson of Mama Corn said.

Even some vendors and camping bluegrass fans from PA are going to make the trip en route to their wintering grounds in Florida, and the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival in Manteo and the International Bluegrass Awards in Raleigh sweeten the deal for acoustic music lovers.

“I play bluegrass, Delta blues and Irish music," Pappalardo said," so I wanted to make sure this wasn’t just bluegrass. We have Molasses Creek, more in the folk music vein,  coming over from Ockracoke, and they are very popular on the Islands, and some of my Irish session buddies are coming down to join in as well. 

“The support and encouragement from all the businesses and organizations here on Hatteras has been tremendous, and the response from my musician friends has been truly remarkable, even for them.  Like honesty, fidelity, and serendipity, this event is meant to show the spirit of the Island, so I made up a word:  Hatterasity!” Pappalardo joked.

On Thursday, Oct. 9, Grammy nominee James King will be in concert with Lorraine Jordan and The Carolina Road Band.

From the wilds of Pennsylvania, Crop Circle Agents will appear Friday through Sunday,   Chad Darou & Stealin’ Time will play on Friday and Saturday, as will Mama Corn. (Fri/Sat), North Carolina’s own Kevin Richardson & Cuttin’ Edge will appear on Saturday and Sunday. And Ocracoke's Molasses Creek will play on Friday.

Weekend passes for the event are $50.  Tickets for each day -- Thursday through Sunday are $20. Hatteras residents are half price and students are one-fourth price.  Children under 12 are free. 

For tickets, check the website,, or send check or money order to Peter Pappalardo, Box 581, Hatteras, NC, 27943.

For more information, contact Peter Pappalardo at 570-856-2545 or e-mail f[email protected].

Click here for a daily schedule of when the bands are playing.

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