2019 marks the 15th anniversary of the first Day at the Docks celebration in Hatteras village, and although the final details are still fluid, the September event promises to be as engaging as ever, with a number of return activities and attractions already on the schedule.
Initially launched as a one-day event in 2004, Day at the Docks (DATD) was created as a community-wide effort to recover after 2003’s devastating Hurricane Isabel, which cut a new inlet south of the village, effectively separating Hatteras from the rest of the world for weeks.
Aimed at reviving the “Spirit of Hatteras,” the event’s roots have always been anchored to the local commercial and charter fishing industries, and DATD continues to be a confirmation of the strength of community, heritage, and the living traditions of island watermen.
Though this backbone remains the same, a lot has changed in 15 years.
DATD maintains its focus on life on the water, but now the event spans across two days, and is an attraction in its own right. These days, many visitors make the trek to Hatteras village in the middle of September to coincide their vacation with the annual DATD celebration, and new activities or vendors are continually added year after year.
Even so, longtime visitors and attendees will be happy to know that many beloved DATD signature events are returning for 2019, with more activities being continually announced as the September weekend draws near.
The fun kicks off on Friday, September 13, with the Taste of N.C., (Hatteras Style), at the Lee Robinson General Store, which is celebrating its eighth year. On Saturday, early risers can explore the village via the annual Fishy 5K, which is sponsored by the Hatteras United Methodist Church, and which entails an enjoyable loop through the heart of historic Hatteras.
The docks of Hatteras village will be brimming with activity as Saturday progresses, with a number of demonstrations, competitions, local vendors and organizations, live music, and so much more. Contests like the popular Concrete Marlin Competition are already on the books for 2019, and this year, a sister Concrete Sailfish Competition will be held as well.
“The Concrete Marlin Competition is the biggest competition of the event, and it always draws a huge crowd,” said organizer Karla Jarvis. “So this year, we are expanding it with the Concrete Sailfish contest – it’s the same principal, but it uses a smaller piece [of concrete] to work well with our younger fishermen.”
The annual Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation Chowder Cook-Off – a source of bragging rights for local chefs and restaurants everywhere – is also already scheduled for this year’s DATD celebration, allowing attendees to sample some of the best chowder connotations on the island.
2019 will also feature a DATD Artist Village with local artisans sharing their one-of-a-kind goodies, and local organizations can still sign up to secure a spot at the Community Organization Area, which provides a venue for information, fundraising activities, and public outreach. (Local organizations interested in reserving free space at DATD’s Community Organization Area can do so by registering online at https://form.jotform.com/92133212903143?fbclid=IwAR3bAgZdPREpQ2EQf_gBTK6QLm2RrW6BgcPHXv10VsX-r6lRO6tobdeDicE.)
The Education Tent is also returning in 2019, as well as the health clinic after a several-year hiatus. “We haven’t had that for a couple of years, so we are working with local health providers to bring back health screening for fishermen and their families,” said Jarvis.
As usual, the public will also be treated to a wealth of informative and entertaining activities throughout the day on Saturday, such as a step-aboard tour of a U.S. Coast Guard vessel, or a hands-on demonstration or two of the commercial fishing basics by local fishermen.
Also true to form, the day will cumulate with the annual Blessing of the Fleet, which has been a tradition since Day at the Docks’ inaugural event. In fact, when Day at the Docks was cancelled due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence in 2018, the Blessing of the Fleet was still held just a few weeks after its original scheduled timeframe, with dozens of vessels participating in the somber but uplifting moment of gratitude, prayer, and remembrance.
More details about scheduled activities will continue to trickle in as Day at the Docks approaches, but in the meantime, locals and visitors alike should save the date for September 13-14 to discover, (or re-discover), everything that this Hatteras-centric celebration has to offer.
To Learn More:
- Day at the Docks takes place on Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14.
- A complete schedule of events, as well as event sponsors and locations, can be found online at http://hatterasonmymind.com/HVCA/DayAtTheDocks/.
- Visitors can also follow Day at the Dock’s Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/hatterasdayatthedocks/, which announces activities and events as they are confirmed.