This year’s Day at the Docks set for Sept. 15 and 16 includes even more events than previous years so there is plenty of fun to choose from whether wanting to know more about commercial fishing, the seafood on your plate, area maritime history or just an opportunity to have fun – it’s all available and free.
On Friday, Sept. 15, the place to be is the Hatteras Community Building, next to the post office in Hatteras Village. At 1 p.m. the National Weather Service -Newport office will host the Hurricane Awareness Town Hall.
At the same location at 6:30, Talk of the Villages: Reflections on Fishing as a Living will feature the first-ever viewing of a photo documentary about the commercial fishing industry by award-winning local photographer Daniel Pullen, and local commercial fishermen will be on hand to answer questions about their work.
Saturday’s Day at the Dock events will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the waterfront in Hatteras Village.
The annual celebration began as a one-day event to celebrate the “Spirit of Hatteras” after the village recovered from Hurricane Isabel in 2003 anchored by the commercial and charter fishermen. It continues to be a confirmation of the strength of community, heritage and living traditions of the waterman. The day features seafood cooking demos, fishing boats and gear, fishing industry skills contests and competitions, live music and life on the water games for children.
“Each year, the event has grown in both attendance and participation,” said Susan West, who has helped with the event since the beginning. ”Many of those who come have done so since the beginning and there continue to be new faces, too. It brings with it a special sense of community that includes everyone who attends.”
This year, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., fishermen and their families can take advantage of free health screenings in the education tent provided by the N.C. Agromedicine Institute. The screenings include blood pressure check, blood glucose, pulmonary function, and hearing. Surveys also will be conducted to gather information to use to put together an industry-specific health and safety program for commercial fishermen similar to that provided to farmers.
Never get the hang of cleaning fish? Professional fish cutters will give demonstrations throughout the day at Oden’s Dock.
The North Carolina Coastal Federation will offer Marsh Tours to visit a living shoreline at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m and 2 p.m. Tours leave from the Willis Boat Landing.
One of the fishing vessels from the historic Albatross Fleet will provide harbor tours throughout the day. Kids gotta have fun, too! At 1:30 p.m., register children for the Kid’s Fishing Tournament that begins at 2 p.m.
Also at 1:30, students of culinary teacher Evan Ferguson at Cape Hatteras Secondary School will show off their skills on how to prepare an easy and tasty seafood recipe.
The Chowder Cook Off tent is always a popular place as cooks vie to impress attendees who choose the winner of the fun competition.
Want to see how the pros fish? Check out the Concrete Marlin Contest during which professional captains and mates compete as they “hook” and “gaff” a concrete cylinder that replicates the weight of a fighting marlin. It has become so popular that a new division, the Concrete Sailfish, has been added for the younger fishermen.
Robert Fritchey, Wetland Riders author, will be at the Outer Banks Catch tent to visit and sign books.
What has become the signature event for Day at the Docks, the Seafood Throwdown takes on a new twist this year. Instead of a mystery seafood, shrimp has been named in advance, and guest chefs from outside the area will make their versions of shrimp and grits. The judges will be North Carolina chefs, food writers, and food gurus will be on hand to judge the plates of the just-landed local shrimp dishes.
Chef Tom Armstrong of Vinnie’s Steakhouse in Raleigh and Chef Jay Pierce, author of the cook book Shrimp, and executive chef at Traveled Farmer in Greensboro will be the visiting guest chefs. Both are bringing their appreciation of locally-caught seafood to Hatteras for this light hearted competition that is educational, fun and delicious. Also, new this year, the chefs are making samples for the audience to taste.
Be sure to stick around for the Blessing of the Fleet at Hatteras Harbor Marina in which a historic shad boat will place a wreath in the water to honor watermen who have “crossed the bar” for their final time.