Looking Good for Our BBQ & Wing Showdown

Waiting to be eaten. Wings and ribs at the 2016 We just checked the weather forecast for Friday and now there’s no excuse for missing the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wing Showdown.
Waiting to be eaten. Wings and ribs at the 2016 We just checked the weather forecast for Friday and now there’s no excuse for missing the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wing Showdown.
Weather Is Cooperating for BBQ & Wing Showdown

We just checked the weather forecast for Friday and there’s no excuse for missing the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wing Showdown. Held at the Event Site in Nags Head, the weather is certainly cooperating. The latest forecast calls for sunshine and temperatures in around 60 degrees.

It’s really looking as though the weather gods are smiling on the event this year, although we know from experience that even if it’s a bit chilly or maybe raining little, the show must go on. Of course, with the event under a huge tent, the weather may be an inconvenience but we’ll still have a great time.

The Outer Banks Taste of the Beach is a four day event, Thursday through Sunday, that includes special preparations, multi course dinners, wine and beer tasting and a some major events.

In many ways, the TOB is mini-tour of the Outer Banks with events scheduled from Corolla to Manteo. It’s tough to pick out a favorite with so much happening.

The BBQ & Wings showdown is, of course, our absolute favorite of the weekend, but two other events we have had fun attending in the past is the Chowder Cook-off on Saturday at Southern Shores Crossing and any one of the wine or beer pairings they do at Trio in Kitty Hawk.

That does come with a caveat—we have never had a bad time at any event.

Other Things To Do

There are a couple of other events that may be worth checking out if eating great food and sipping wonderful libations becomes tiresome.

The Outer Banks Forum of the Lively Arts will be presenting Barefoot Movement at the First Flight High School auditorium on Saturday evening. The Barefoot Movement is at the forefront of what is being called nugrass—sort of a new way of thinking about bluegrass.

For theatre goers, check out the Manteo High School’s production of Phantom of the Opera Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The kids consistently do a remarkable job with some very difficult material, so this may be a great one to see.

BBQ & Wings Showdown TOB Highlight

The Annual Outer Banks Taste of the Beach kicks off next weekend and the big event has to be the BBQ and Wings Showdown on Friday, March 24 at the Event Site in Nags Head.

Here at Joe Lamb, Jr. we sponsor the event with the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, so yes, that’s at least part of the reason we think it’s so great. But beyond that after doing this for the past few years, we can honestly say it is a fun, fun event.

A Couple of Hints

Bring a good appetite. With 15 area chefs creating remarkable barbecue and wings, there is a lot to sample. The event starts at noon, so it’s probably a good idea to skip breakfast. Better yet, don’t eat the day before either.

Don’t vote until everything has been sampled. This is easier said than done. Our experience is that somewhere around the 11th or 12th booth, the realization that the consumption of calories is roughly equivalent to two days of feasting takes root. And there’s still more booths to go.

Nonetheless—forge on. This is for posterity, after all.

Take your time. There is no rush. The listed times for the event are 12-3 and that’s plenty of time to try everything.

Other Things to Do

Although the BBQ and Wings Showdown is the highlight of the Taste of the Beach, the event is actually a four day affair beginning on Thursday and ending on Sunday. There is so much to do, we couldn’t possibly list it all here, but by all means, pick out two or three events every day and go have fun.

Two other happenings that have become part of the Taste of the Beach tradition is the Chowder Cook-off on Saturday at Southern Shores Crossing in Southern Shores and the Grand Tasting & Bartenders Bubbly Bash at Port O’ Call in Kill Devil Hills.

The Grand Tasting has become so popular that there are two opportunities to go—noon until 2:00 p.m. and 2:30-4:30.

OBX St. Pat’s Day Parade-A Great Time on a Cold Day

Paying tribute to Councilman Warren Judge. The Dare County Democratic Party float.
Paying tribute to Councilman Warren Judge. The Dare County Democratic Party float.
A Cold Day for a Parade

It was cold today in Nags Head for the 28th Annual Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but it was still a great time and the entertainment value was outstanding.

The smaller than usual crowd had a great time. They stamped their feet, jumped up and down and counted their blessings because a few days ago the forecast was calling for 3” of snow.

The Kelly’s Parade is not quite like any other.

It has all of the elements of a classic parade…some marching band and lots of floats. But then there’s the the marching dogs, antique cars, fire engines and what appears to be every business on the Outer Banks driving by with a magnetic sign on their car door.

There is also the unicyclist who plays the trumpet and jumps rope on his unicycle…that’s not something seen everyday.

If the parade was not as well attended as usual, the kids that were there, didn’t seem to be complaining. Participants traditionally throw out candy and the volume of candy remains the same whether the crowd is at 10,000 or 2,000.

A Good Day for a Parade

Mike Kelly has never had to postpone or cancel one of his parades, although with what the weather looked like as late as Wednesday, there had to be some thought of moving it to next weekend. But if it was cold and windy, it was still a good day for a parade. And, the sun even came out as the parade was finishing up.

Even though it was cold, there were at least free hotdogs and entertainment waiting under the tent across the Bypass at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern.

Was it the best Kelly’s St. Pat’s Day Parade ever? Hard to say. Probably not. But at the parades are always a good time and it certainly seemed to be the coldest, and that makes it memorable.

Southern Shores Approves Beach Nourishment

Reasons for beach nourishment. Numbers 1 and 3 are particularly relevant for Southern Shores.
Reasons for beach nourishment. Numbers 1 and 4 are particularly relevant for Southern Shores.
Town Council Agrees It’s Needed

After months of debate and hesitation, beach nourishment is coming to the town of Southern Shores.

After Hurricane Matthew devastated the shoreline in front of Pelican Watch, just north of Kitty Hawk Pier, residents asked the town council if it would be possible to piggyback on the Kitty Hawk portion of the Dare County Intra-local beach nourishment project.

On Monday, March 6, by a vote of 4-1 the Town Council decided to move forward with the project. Councilman Gary McDonald, concerned about ongoing cost commitments, voted agains the proposal.

Cost Savings

If the Town Council had not approved the measure at this time, the cost of nourishing the beach would have been far more expensive in the future. By taking advantage of existing equipment in place, Southern Shores was able to get the best possible price for the project.

The next opportunity to piggyback on a local project if town council had not reached an agreement would be next year when Nags Head replenishes their beach. However, because Nags Head is father away from Southern Shores than Kitty Hawk, the expense would be greater.

The Intra-local agreement stipulates a 50/50 cost sharing between the county and the town that are participating. With the addition of Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Duck are now part of the program.

As a late comer to the agreement, Southern Shores does have a slightly different payment arrangement with the county agreeing to pay up to $500,000 of shared cost. Although project engineers have not given a final cost estimate, there is confidence the final price tag will not exceed $1 million.

Southern Shores will fund their portion of the project with a special $150,000 assessment on the 26 beachfront properties affected and with funds from general revenues.

The portion of the beach that will be nourished is approximately 2500’ north of the Kitty Hawk town line.

The project will begin in late June.

OBX Scalawags Fall to Harlem Ambassadors

 

Playing musical chairs with the Harlem Ambassadors.
Playing musical chairs with the Harlem Ambassadors.
Ambassadors Bring Basketball and Fun to First Flight High

The Harlem Ambassadors came to town yesterday for a game basketball with the local Scalawags. Although game is a loose description of what happened on the court.

Sponsored by the Dare Education Foundation, there was some resemblance to basketball, although it wasn’t always apparent.

There were usually five members of each team on the floor, occasionally the Scalawags had six, and when the ball went through the hoop, points were scored. Not always in a way recognizable by NBA or amateur rules, but a basket did count for something.

Playing before an almost sold out gym at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, the Ambassadors, made up of former college players fresh out of school, were in clearly better shape with better ball-handling skills. It’s very doubtful that any of the Scalawags, mostly teachers with a few youth league coaches thrown in, could still dunk…if they ever could. Except for the lone women, all the Ambassadors were comfortable playing above the rim.

Focus on Kids

But if the day was short on classic basketball, it was long on fun and providing a great time for the kids, and there were a lot of them on hand.

At halftime the kids in the audience came out on the court for a little exercise and a quick basketball camp. Between periods the Ambassadors brought a small group of kids to the court for a different form of musical chairs.

In this version, the visiting team carries the chairs around the floor as the children follow them around waiting for the music to stop. It was still the classic where the floor is always one chair short, but it seemed like a lot more fun than usual for the kids. And the little boy who won was beaming when he realized he was the last one sitting.

Making it a special day for kids and families was really what the event was about. There was some basketball played, and the Scalawags were given a lot of point handicaps to try to keep the game close, but when the final score was posted, it didn’t really matter, even if the Scalawags lost 100-90.

The event was brought to the Outer Banks by the DEF. The DEF supports a number of programs for Dare County teacher and students.

Major Outer Banks March Events

Scene from last March at the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ  & Wing Showdown.
Scene from last March at the Joe Lamb, Jr. BBQ & Wing Showdown.

It seems as though the winter is just zipping by here on the Outer Banks. Although, as winters go, it hasn’t been much of one.

But here we are, it’s March already, the days are beginning to feel a bit longer the weather, which has been wonderfully mild, will hopefully stay that way and there are some great events coming up this month on the Outer Bank.

We’re not going to write about all of the March events, but there are a few we want to be sure to mention.

Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Beach Road, Nags Head

March 12

The parade is a bit earlier than usual this year, so be sure to mark the calendar because this is one parade that should not be missed. Mike Kelly has been putting on this parade for over 25 years and it is always fun, whacky and a wonderful celebration of all that’s best about the Outer Banks.

Outer Banks Taste Of The Beach Weekend

Outer Banks

March 23 – March 26

The Taste of the Beach combines two sure-to-please features—great food and a chance to tour the northern Outer Banks.

There are so many events on the schedule that it’s not possible to call all of them out, but we do want to call attention to three in particular, nicely scheduled on three different days so there’s no excuse for not showing up for all three.

The Outer Banks BBQ & Wing Showdown

The Soundside Event Site, Nags Head

March 24

This is our favorite event of the weekend because…well, Joe Lamb, Jr. sponsors it. With the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, we should add.

Nonetheless, this is a fun, fun event with some of the best chefs on the Outer Banks competing to prove they make the best wings and barbecue around.

Helpful hint: Consume no food after midnight of the night before.

Annual OBX Chowder Cookoff

Southern Shores Crossing Shopping Center, Southern Shores

March 25

Going to the Chowder Cookoff is like entering a chowder museum where the exhibits are edible. Very edible.

It is almost impossible to describe how many different ways chowder can be prepared and in the hands of some of the best chef’s on the Outer Banks, it is some good soup.

It is an outdoor event, although Southern Shores Crossing is very protected. Nonetheless, dress accordingly.

Grand Tasting & Bartenders Bubbly Bash

Port ‘o Call Restaurant, Kill Devil Hills

March 26

The Grand Finale and a grand time it is. Don’t miss this one.

Chef’s Auction Brings Out the Best in OBX

Chef Donny King, Ocean Boulevard, at the 16th Annual Signature Chef's Auction.
Chef Donny King, Ocean Boulevard, at the 16th Annual Signature Chef’s Auction.

As a reminder of how great it is to be associated with the Outer Banks, the 16th Annual Outer Banks Signature Chef’s Auction is perfect.

Held on Sunday at Duck Woods Country Club, there’s a little bit of glamour, some great food, it’s for a great cause and the generosity of the Outer Banks is on full display.

A fundraiser for the March of Dimes, the Chef’s Auction featured 12 area chef’s at their creative best. That alone is a great reason to come to the event, but there is also the auction.

There’s a silent auction as everyone is sampling the food, but the fundraising highlight has got to be the Live Auction Items. Seventeen packages were bid on this year, and there were some spectacular packages.

A week on Ocracoke for six; personal chef service for a 25 person party; dinner and a sunset cruise on a yacht—there was something for everyone. And the bid reflected that, ranging all the way up to $6500.

But the evening was really all about the Outer Banks families who have children who may not have survived if it wasn’t for the March of Dimes and the research the organization has been doing.

The Nola Bryne was this year’s ambassador. Nola and her mom went through a tough time at birth and three-and-a-half years later Nola still has some issue, but she is an active, cheerful child with a smile that can light up the largest room.

That’s what the Chef’s Auction was all about. After the food has been eaten—and it was great food; after the auctions and everyone goes home and hugs their kids, the evening really is about hope and the generosity of the Outer Banks community.

Participating restaurants

Aqua Restaurant and Spa-Chef Cory Bryant

Black Pelican-Chef Jason Jordon

Cravings Steak and Seafood-Scott Foster

Duck Woods Country Club-Chef Joey Russo

Eastside Restaurant-Chef Jeff Readman

Mike Dianna’s Grill Room-Chef Mike Dianna

Ocean Boulevard-Chef Donny King

Red Sky Cafe-Chef Wes Stepp

Kimball’s Kitchen, Sanderling Resort-Chefs Tyler Powell, Brian Riddle

Steamer-Chefs Chris Braswell, Michael Blanchard

Stripers Bar and Grille-Chef Alfredo Landzuri

The Saltbox Cafe-Chefs Randolph and Amanda Sprinkle

Spamalot and The Holy Grail

Knights of the Round Table (LtoR): Sir Robin who slew the vicious Chicken of Bristol;e Homicidally Brave Lancelot;King Arthur; the Dashingly Handsome Sir Galahad; the strangely flatulent Sir Bedevere; and Arthur's servant Patsy.
Knights of the Round Table (LtoR): Sir Robin who slew the vicious Chicken of Bristol;e Homicidally Brave Lancelot;King Arthur; the Dashingly Handsome Sir Galahad; the strangely flatulent Sir Bedevere; and Arthur’s servant Patsy.
Spamalot-Fun and Irreverence

Spamalot,  a wonderful romp into insanity and non sequiturs, manages to poke fun at just about everyone and everything. Performed by the Theatre of Dare it’s worth the price of admission…and it doesn’t cost all that much.

The play, based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, retains all of the original madness of the movie.

The iconic, classic scenes are all here.

The relative calling out to the undertaker to haul Not-Dead-Yet Fred away. And Fred telling anyone who will listen, “But I’m not dead yet.” In the stage version, Fred gets up and dances a bit.

This is 90 minutes of mayhem at its best.

The Lady of the Lake—the grantor of Excalibur to Arthur—is beautiful and wonderfully self-absorbed. Although she uses her feminine wiles to manipulate Dennis the Peasant into becoming Sir Galahad, as we learn at the end of the play, her plan all along was to marry King Arthur.

The Knights of the Round Table are given wonderfully descriptive names. 

There’s the Dashingly Handsome Sir Galahad; the Homicidally Brave Lancelot, Sir Robin who slew the vicious Chicken of Bristol and who personally wet himself at the Battle of Badon Hill, and the strangely flatulent Sir Bedevere.

What little plot there is centers on the search for the Holy Grail which is quickly found when it turns out that the Lady of the Lake has it. After that it becomes a question of returning the chalice, although where it is supposed to go is never made clear.

But that’s ok because what Spamalot is really about are the personal quests of the Knights of the Round Table.

Sir Robin dreams of producing a Broadway play. Sir Galahad finds his life mate in Herbert the imprisoned son of a noble. And Arthur finds his true live in the Lady of the Lake.

The Theatre of Dare is a community theatre group and this is community theatre at its absolute best. Three performances left: Friday and Saturday evening and a final matinee on Sunday, February 26. All performances are at the COA Manteo theater.

Hiking Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Roanoke Sound side of Jockey's Ridge State Park showing dense maritime forest.
Roanoke Sound side of Jockey’s Ridge State Park showing dense maritime forest.

We seem to be lucking into some absolutely exquisitely beautiful weather here on the Outer Banks. It’s been a great time to get out and explore, to see some of the hidden wonders of the area before the summer heat comes.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

With bright shushing, nice breeze from the northwest and temperatures in the mid 60s, today was a perfect day to check out Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.

Jockey’s Ridge is the largest sand dune on the East Coast and most visitors to the Outer Banks probably know it as an amazing place to fly a kite or learn how to hang glide. And the view from Jockey’s Ridge is spectacular.

However, there is a whole other world waiting to be explored at the park.

The 1.5 mile Tracks in the Sand nature trail winds it’s way across the dunes to a narrow beach bordering the Roanoke Sound.

Trail Description

There is a tendency to think of Jockey’s Ridge as a gigantic pile of sand. Although there is a lot of sand, this is a dynamic environment where small groves of maritime trees come to life in pockets of earth where the dunes give protection from the wind.

Sand sculpted by the wind at Jockey's Ridge State Park.
Sand sculpted by the wind at Jockey’s Ridge State Park.

But the sand is a mutable force and as it migrates, it encroaches on the root systems of the trees, strangling them over time. Along the edge of every copse of living trees, there is a swath of dead and dying vegetation.

The wind is a constant and as it blows the loose sand away, compressed sand is exposed and carved into the most amazing patterns.

Along the Roanoke Sound, protected for centuries from the harsh salt winds of the Atlantic Ocean, a dense maritime forest has taken root. It exists along a very narrow strip of land, perhaps 200 yards at it’s most wide, before the barrier of the sterile sands of Jockey’s Ridge begin to dominate.

But that narrow strip is remarkably verdant; raccoon tracks can be clearly seen. he sound of birds is a constant, and the forest is dense, almost impenetrable in places.

Although the Tracks in the Sand trail is only 1.5 miles, it is across loose sand and there are some steep sections. Anyone who walks from time to time should have no problem with it, but it’s a level trail across a well packed surface.

Meetings Highlight Outer Banks Beach Nourishment

Julien Devisse of Coastal Planning and Engineering speaking at Kill Devil Hills.
Julien Devisse of Coastal Planning and Engineering discussing beach nourishment at Kill Devil Hills.

With beach nourishment scheduled to begin in May in the towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills–and maybe Southern Shores, the contractor for the project, Coastal Engineering held a series of informational meetings Wednesday and Thursday.

Traveling with Coastal Engineering was a representative from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, the company that will be pumping the sand on the beach.

The presentation in each town was geared toward the work that was being done there, but much of the presentation was consistent.

Construction

The work, as an example, will be done in 1000’ sections, and as construction is underway, the public, for safety reasons, will not be permitted in the work zone.

Julien Devisse from Coastal Engineering had the task of explaining how nourishment works.

Using graphs he showed how, over time, sand from a nourished beach typically moves off shore to form a protective sand bar that helps to dissipate the fore of incoming waves.

He also discussed the timetable.

Work is scheduled to begin in Duck in mid May with a planned completion date in late June or early July.

Kitty Hawk will begin in mid June and should wrap up by mid August.

Plans call for Kill Devil Hills nourishment to begin in early August and be completed by mid September.

Devisse did caution, though, that there were a number of factors that could influence the schedule—weather is certainly one of the factors. He also noted, however, that the dredges were pumping sand almost continuously and that given the abrasive nature of sand, equipment failures could occur.

Dredging

According to the representative from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock the borrow areas, which is where the sand is located that will be brought to the beach, is about six miles off shore and is considered easily accessible with good quality sand.

Although there are conditions under which it will not  be able to operate, the dredge can continue its work in seas up to 8’.

Federal regulations require monitoring for sea turtles. N.E.S.T. will be monitoring construction zones to insure no nesting sea turtles are disturbed.