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Locals and visitors alike flock to Hatteras Island, North Carolina, for Day at the Docks Festival. This one-of-a-kind festival celebrates the history and culture of Hatteras Island’s working watermen. Day at the Docks takes place along the waterfront, adjacent to the village marinas and many of our Shore Details rental homes. During your North Carolina coastal vacation, visit Day at the Docks and see what Hatteras Island is all about.

Hurricane Isabel

In 2003, the strongest, deadliest, Atlantic hurricane struck Hatteras Island. Hurricane Isabel nearly destroyed our village. Day at the Docks founder, Captain Ernie Foster, said there were no roads for two months after Hurricane Isabel. Hatteras village was completely isolated from their surroundings; there was no economy, no tourists, no industries, no grocery store deliveries, and even no food trucks. The first industry to begin working again was commercial fishing; fishermen were able to back-haul necessities from the other part of the island such as groceries and ice.

Day at the Docks

Captain Ernie remembers planning this celebration with his wife in 2004. Instead of the typical “cotton candy and ferris wheel” type of festival, they wanted to focus on people who made their living on the water. Every September on Hurricane Isabel’s anniversary, the Hatteras Island community gathers to commemorate the hard-working watermen and the “Spirit of Hatteras.” Naturally, hurricane season brings Hatteras Island lots of rain, but the islanders are relentless and can persevere any rainstorm.

Festival Activities

There are several activities that people look forward to every year, such as the kids’ fishing competition and the adult fishing contest with a concrete marlin. Fishermen, weightlifters and many others try to reel in this concrete block meant to simulate what it’s like to catch a marlin. Some vendors celebrate the water theme by serving seafood at every hour of the day. Every year, the Cape Hatteras secondary school’s food and nutrition teacher brings her students to Day at the Docks to showcase and prepare local seafood. In fact, there’s an entire venue dedicated to seafood demonstrations. The seafood tent is always a visitor favorite, but the highlight is the seafood throw-down. The seafood throw-down is an event in which local chefs are given a list of ingredient guidelines and sometimes even mystery ingredients. Then they prepare their dish in front of a live audience.

Day at the Docks is the ideal location for watermen to learn and educate others in their field.
The festival also aims to educate visitors about seafood and where it’s from. Perhaps you’ll learn a recipe or two and try cooking them for your family at your Shore Details vacation home. To learn more about booking your dream vacation home, visit the Shore Details website, or talk to our staff at 252-357-7121.