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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.

When staying in an oceanfront Shore Details vacation rental, you’re bound to have prime access to some of the best beaches on Hatteras Island. Take advantage of our beach gear rentals to ensure an unforgettable experience. Hop inside one of our 4×4 outer bank jeep rentals and drive to the nearest beach for a late-night beach bonfire. While most outer bank beaches allow fires, there are a few exceptions. We encourage all Shore Details guests to read through the outer banks’ bonfire regulations before you start your beach bonfire.

Beach Bonfire

Before striking a match, make sure your bonfire structure is safe and secure. Your bonfire should be a reasonable distance from any flammable items. The local law recommends building your campfire below the high tide line to reduce the threat of beach fires. To find the high tide line, search for an area of the beach lined with seagrass. You can also reference local tide charts that are available online. Once you have picked the perfect spot for your beach bonfire, dig a shallow hole in the sand. The hole will protect your fire from the wind. Many Shore Details guests ask us where they can find firewood. Just about any local grocery store, hardware store or convenience store sells small bundles of firewood. After your bonfire is built and lit, it’s time to enjoy! Grab your VayK rental beach chair and get comfy! You’ll have these memories for a lifetime.

When the beach bonfire starts to die down, your cozy Shore Details vacation rental will be waiting for you. Be sure to get a good night of sleep, because there are still many things to do on Hatteras Island tomorrow! Call us today at 252-357-7121 to reserve the vacation rental of your dreams!