Winter is in full swing on the Outer Banks, (or at least it was as of last week when temperatures finally dropped below 60 degrees), and this traditionally signifies a sleepy stage of the Hatteras Island calendar year.
The wintertime is when a trip to the grocery store becomes a social outing, when you can have the beach and Highway 12 all to yourself, and when binge-watching all those shows you couldn’t get to during the summer months becomes the agenda for the day…. Or the week, for that matter.
But this February is shaping up to be a little bit different, simply because there is a lot going on.
Festivals, educational events, and informative meetings or presentations are all on the horizon in the month ahead, and are all worth a closer look.
From new and enticing traditions like the annual Waterfowl Festival, to essential meetings that will cover the launch of the new Dare County flood maps – an endeavor that will affect all island homeowners – February has a number of reasons to peel off those sweatpants and venture outside. (Although, to be fair, it is Hatteras Island in the winter, so donning sweatpants for any and all of these events is actually perfectly fine.)
Here are four big February events that are landing on the island in the weeks ahead, and which definitely should not be missed.
State of the County, Hatteras Island Edition – February 3
If you missed the original State of the County event in Kill Devil Hills on January 15, this is your opportunity to catch an encore presentation without a lengthy drive up the beach.
The State of the County is an annual event that is spearheaded by Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard, and which summarizes the issues of the day that affect county residents.
Combining a 2019-in-review summary with plans for the year ahead, the all-encompassing presentation touches on continual projects and county initiatives, including efforts to create more essential housing, hurricane response, initiatives to combat the opioid crisis on a local level, and the status of big-ticket endeavors, like the Bonner Bridge project.
2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of Dare County, and during the original January 15 presentation, Chairman Woodard marked the occasion by addressing the large crowd in period attire from the 1870s. No word yet on whether the nostalgic outfit will make a second, eye-catching appearance for Hatteras Island’s event, however, the meat and potatoes of the presentation itself – which provides an up-to-date outlook on the future of Dare County – is more than enough reason to attend and get a broad look on what to expect in the new decade ahead.
The State of the County presentation on Hatteras Island will take place on Monday, February 3, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cape Hatteras Secondary School at 48576 N.C. Highway 12 in Buxton. Refreshments will be served.
The event is free of charge, but those planning to attend are requested to reserve a seat by filling out the RSVP form online at DareNC.com/SOC-Hatteras-RSVP or by calling 252.475.5900
Flood Map Meeting – February 13
The Dare County Planning Board is holding an informational meeting on the new, updated flood maps for Hatteras Island that may have some drastic changes for island homeowners, depending soley on their physical address.
Many properties have been reclassified in the new-in-2020 flood maps, and in many instances at a lower-risk flood zone, which has led to some controversy and questions regarding the importance of obtaining flood insurance, and future building guidelines.
At the meeting, Planning Director Donna Creef will provide an overview of the updated maps, discuss concerns associated with the new updates, and will explain the proposed regulations for development in unincorporated Dare County that are currently being considered.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 13, at 5:00 p.m. at the Fessenden Center at 46830 N.C. Highway 12 in Buxton.
For more information regarding the new maps, and to view the Flood Maps Update presentation provided to the Board of Commissioners at the January 6 meeting, visit obxfloodmaps.com.
Starry Nights – February 15
Starry Nights, a celebration of stargazing on one of the darkest stretches of the East Coast, is returning for its fifth year in Hatteras village, and this year’s event promises to be brighter than ever.
With special visiting hosts from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center from UNC Chapel Hill, attendees can expect plenty of fun and educational action during the day-long event, including a mobile planetarium theater, hands-on science experiments, and a live telescope viewing that takes place under Hatteras village’s canopy of stars, (if the weather cooperates.)
Hatteras Island is fortunate enough to have one of the clearest skies in the country, which is why this event is a must for anyone who wants to garner a deeper appreciation of our night skies, and our home galaxy.
Starry Nights is sponsored by the Hatteras Village Civic Association, and will be held at the Hatteras Village Community Center on Saturday, February 15, from 2-8 p.m. The event is free to the island community, and is a great outing for both young and young-at-heart stargazers.
Hatteras Village Waterfowl Festival – February 21-23
Returning to Hatteras Island for its second year, the Hatteras Village Waterfowl Festival is a contagiously fun weekend event that features bird watching, live demonstrations, meet-and-greats with feathered visitors, and plenty of exceptional food. (Also, bourbon!)
First launched in 2019, the multiple-day festival shines a spotlight on the island’s unique claim to fame as one of the most popular spots for resident and migrating waterfowl, and especially in the winter months when our wilder residentsoutnumber people, and effectively rule the roost.
The event kicks off with the “Fin, Feather and Bourbon” social on Friday evening, featuring local seafood, North Carolina bourbon, and a perfectly paired selection of wines and other refreshments.
On Saturday, attendees will be inundated with activities which includes an array of carvers, artists, and vendors, numerous demonstrations including a live raptor show, a historical bus tours of the village, a bird watching cruise, an interactive duck exhibit and much, much more.
At the end of Saturday, the celebration continues with live music and a social hour before dinner is served, and event wraps up with a casual Sunday Brunch and a farewell until the event hopefully returns again in 2021.
Tickets are available for just the day on Saturday, or attendees can purchase Gold Tickets which provide access to all events, (as well as all of the delicious food.)
For more information and to keep track of events and activities as they are added to the 2020 line-up, visit https://www.facebook.com/hatteraswaterfowlfestival/http://hatterasonmymind.com/HVCA/WaterfowlFestival
One final note: The Hatteras Island Oyster Roast is unfortunately sold out for Feb. 1, but the Island Free Press will be hosting a live broadcast from the event that afternoon, so our readers can at least get a taste of the wintertime celebration, even if they don’t get to taste the actual oysters being shucked along Oden’s Dock.
Also, remember that the above February happenings are just the tip of the iceberg, (or, if you’ve had a ridiculously warmer-than-average winter like we have, just the tip of the sandbar.)
If you are hosting an activity or event on the islands in the not-so-distant future, we’d love to hear from you and help you spread the word!
Reach out to us at email@example.com, and we’ll be happy to help you encourage all of us islanders to get off the couch, and to check out how enticing our unique islands can be in the heart of the winter season.
Summer will be here before we know it, so this is the perfect time to explore, have fun, and connect with our local community – all without ditching the seasonal sweatpants.