Bryan Mayer

Are you ready to get amped! After Hurricane Florence devastated the area the always-popular NC Seafood Festival made the difficult decision to cancel this year's event. But the board of directors felt strongly about doing something to bring the community together.

Their response takes shape this Saturday, Nov. 3 as the Amped Up for YOU-Tilities fundraiser to benefit relief efforts.

The Seafood Festival was postponed from its original October 5-7 due to damage the area sustained from Hurricane Florence and to give the community time to recover. Other reasons for the cancellation include the limited accommodations available for overnight guests. Many hotels have been damaged and are still undergoing repairs. In addition, most of the businesses in the actual footprint of the festival have been displaced and still have not reopened.

“The brand of the NC Seafood Festival and the magnitude of impact that it brings to the area can never be replicated with a different date," said Stephanie McIntyre, executive director. "This event will have a totally different look, mission and purpose. We look forward to crafting this event for our recovering community.”

The hurricane benefit event will be held in Jaycee Park on the Morehead City working waterfront. The event will focus on hurricane relief efforts with food, music and fun for all ages.

“The board feels that we still want to produce an element of giving back to our community after experiencing such a major devastation," said Ed Stack, 2018 festival chairman. "We look forward to bringing this event to the area and working toward planning of the North Carolina Seafood Festival in 2019.”

Music opens at 11am with Mike Corrado and at 9pm Bryan Mayer takes the stage. Throughout the day folks will be able to hear the Beaufort Blues Project, Strung Together and Mikele Buck, who was recently seen on the television show "The Voice."

Food vendors are not required to sell seafood as they are during the full festival, although many old favorites will be in place doing just that. The St. Egbert's crowd will be serving shrimp pitas, the FFA will offer its popular clam chowder and Lil Johnny's Crab Shack will serve shrimp, mahi fingers, soft shell crabs and more. About 20 food vendors plan to attend with a vast menu to choose from.

The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament has stepped in to help sponsor the event with the intentions of bringing relief aid to the community.

“I’ve been seeing Carteret Strong signs all around town and I must say that it is the best description I have seen about our community and the folks that are here," said President of Big Rock Marlin Tournament Dale Britt. "On behalf of our board of directors, our Executive Director Crystal Hesmer and her great team we are pleased to announce that the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is joining forces with the NC Seafood Festival to help hold this important hurricane relief benefit on Nov. 3."

The organizations have chosen the Salvation Army as the recipient of funds raised. The Salvation Army has a program within its framework that vets families in need of assistance to pay their utility bills.

“What is going to happen in another month when their utilities bill is due? You have a choice to make: do I feed my family for another month or do we pay the utility bill," Major Dewey Alderson of the Salvation Army said during a news conference. "That is what this money is going to do. We promise you that this money is going to be spent here on utility bills, rent and whatever else we can do in Carteret County.”

The ‘Amped Up’ event runs from 11am-11pm. There is no admission fee to attend.

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