IT'S ALL ABOUT the seafood each October as Carteret County pays homage to its abundant catch. The NC Seafood Festival takes over the Morehead City waterfront Oct. 6-8 with a full slate of entertainment, rides, vendors, educational opportunities and enough fun to keep the whole family busy all weekend long.
While it’s the music, the Ferris wheel and the chance to pick up wares from favorite arts and crafts vendors that keep visitors entertained, it’s that lure of the catch that brings them there – the ever-present aroma of seafood frying that calls residents and visitors to the waterfront in droves like a Siren’s song for the hungry.
Like what you taste? Everyone will be able to take some of the seafood home from the festival's Open Aire Market as well as gain great information on handling, cleaning and storing fresh seafood.
The festival's vast food offerings are joined by more than 150 vendors. Photography, painting, glass blowing and molding, wood carvings, wall hangings and pottery are just a few of the arts and crafts you can expect to find. Other booths will offer Seafood Fest gear, including T-shirts and a popular annual poster.
While a paid concert has anchored Saturday night festivities for the last several years, however, organizers are once again turning toward free music options all weekend long on the festival's three stages. Performers include 3-Day Weekend, Six Pack of Gentlemen, Strung Together, Kids in America, Adair's Run and more. Check ncseafoodfestival.org for the complete line up.
What works great to wash down that local seafood? Beer – and this year organizers are excited about the first Port of Pour event scheduled for noon to 6pm on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Shepard and 9th streets. Tickets holders will be able to taste an unlimited number of samples provided by 15 different breweries, including Natty Greene, Carolina Brewing Company, Sweetwater, Goose Island, Shock Top, and more.
Two ticket options are available. A Captain ticket ($45) allows guests complimentary appetizers and early access to the event, while First Mate ticket ($30) holders will be able to visit the event from 2-6pm. All ticket holders will receive a souvenir beer tasting glass. Ticket prices increase on the day of the event, so everyone is encouraged to purchase tickets early.
Other special events include the annual Blessing of the Fleet, held at 10am on Sunday, Oct. 8. Fishermen who have lost their lives to make their living on the sea are honored each year with what many consider the most moving part of the annual festival.
Be sure to check out the Southern Outer Banks Boat Show, held on the waterfront each day, as well as the Twin Bridges Road Race, that gets things started on Saturday morning, beginning at 8am at the Beaufort drawbridge.
Fireworks are slated for 9pm on Saturday and a Pier Fishing Tournament runs all weekend to give anglers some bragging rights.
Looking for your perfect introduction to Crystal Coast seafood – look no further. For a full schedule of events, visit ncseafoodfestival.org.