First First Friday-Fun in Downtown Manteo

 George Wood Photography and others at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery on April 5.
George Wood Photography and others at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery on April 5.

The first official First Friday of the year is coming up and in Manteo and there is so much to do, it’s hard to see how it will all fit into one evening.

Next Friday, April 5 is that first Friday we’re talking about.

Two really interesting events worth checking out are side by side in Manteo. Of course, the downtown area isn’t all that large anyway, but these two really are side by side.

The centerpiece of the First Friday celebrations is the Dare County Arts Council Gallery in what was the county courthouse at one time.

First Friday always introduces the artist who will be featured that month and for April George Wood is his photography will be on display.

George is an interesting guy. He had a whole career as a coastal engineer, but over the past few years he’s turned more and more toward photography. His images are difficult to categorize but beautiful and thought-provoking. 

Upstairs, in what used to be the courtroom, members of the Southeastern Mystery Writers won are on the Outer Banks for a retreat will be doing readings from their books. They did that last year and it was very interesting.

Next door—ok, two doors down from the Arts Council—at Downtown Books, Kevin Duffy will be on hand to sign his many titles on the history of the North Carolina coast. 

His books include The Last Days of Blackbeard, War Zone: WW2 Off the NC Coast, The Lost Light and Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks. Invariably meticulous in their research, they are also a very good read.

His latest project is looking at the Mirlo rescue by the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station in Rodanthe on August 16, 1918.

He’ll also be at the DCAC gallery on Sunday discussing his research.

There’s always lots to do on the Outer Banks. Stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates for and while a discover the real Outer Banks.

When Rain Goes Away Musicians Come Out to Play

First Friday in downtown Manteo. It looks like the rain will be gone and it should be a good evening for music and visiting.
First Friday in downtown Manteo. It looks like the rain will be gone and it should be a good evening for music and visiting.

Live Outdoor Music Back on Tap for Upcoming Week

We have had a lot of rain here on the Outer Banks over the past week. If the rain gauge at the Dare County Airport on Roanoke Island is accurate—and it’s the official record keeper—it looks like 14” over the past seven days.

We’ve had a couple of breaks in the clouds and the sun has come out from time to time, but honestly? It’s time for the rain to go away. And if the weather forecast is accurate, we’re going to have another day or day and a half of this, then finally some consistent nice weather.

When it finally clears up, we can go back to some got the things that make summer on the Outer Banks so special.

All of the small outdoor music venues had to cancel their shows this past week. That would be places like Ocean Boulevard, with it’s wonderful setting on the beach road. Or the roof top venue at Rundown Cafe. Both of those are n Kitty Hawk.

In Nags Head it would be hard to find a better place to relax with a drink, watch the sunset over the Roanoke Sound and listen to music than Pamlico Jacks.

And those are just a few of the venues that had to cancel shows this week because of the weather…and thankfully, the weather is looking like it’s going to cooperate for Tuesday evening on.

That also means things are looking great for First Friday this coming Friday in downtown Manteo.

First Friday has truly become one of the Outer Banks summer traditions that people really look forward to. There is four or five block area along the water front in the town that is ideal for enjoying live music, some sidewalk cafes, some art and a night out.

There’s always a lot happening on the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates homes for the perfect location to enjoy all the there is to do and see.

First Friday in Downtown Manteo-A Great Celebration

Mojo Collins performs at a First Friday on the DCAC Gallery steps.
Mojo Collins performs at a First Friday on the DCAC Gallery steps.

First Friday Wraps Up a Great Outer Banks Week

We have a great week coming up on the Outer Banks. There’s the 4th of July, of course, which is always a good time. But close on the heels of Independence Day it’s First Friday in downtown Manteo.

First Friday is a great way to get out, stretch the legs and enjoy a great small town atmosphere.

There is no official start time to the event, although generally 6:00 p.m. is when things seem to get rolling. There will be live music on the street—there is always something happening on the steps of the Dare County Arts Gallery. (DCAC). That’s the old County Courthouse for the history buffs.

The DCAC always uses First Friday to introduce their artist of the month. This month it’s Dawn Gray Moraga and Ben Morris, local artists who are remarkably talented. They are cooperating on a show titled “In Living Color Art Show.”

There are always a couple of restaurants that offer some street food, and there are sidewalk cafes.

What truly seems to make First Friday worth going to, though, is the general festival-like atmosphere that seems to settle over the downtown waterfront of Manteo.

An event that is occurring in conjunction with First Friday this month—Andrew Lawler, the author of The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke will be at Downtown Books in Manteo on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

Lawler is the bestselling author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the World, a book that examines the impact chicken has had on world civilizations.

The Secret Token is his newest novel, a book that takes a hard factual look at the beliefs and theories that have grown up around the disappearance of The Lost Colony.

He will be making a second appearance at the DCAC Gallery on Sunday at 4:30.

There’s always a reason to spend some time on the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates. listings to see what’s available.

30 Years and 39 Books for Melvin and Tate

Artist signing for an artist. That's Suzanne Tate signing one of her books for mystery author Joseph Terrell. Artists James Melvin is on the left side of the photo.
Artist signing for an artist. That’s Suzanne Tate signing one of her books for mystery author Joseph Terrell. Artists James Melvin is on the left side of the photo.

Tate’s Nature Series Celebrates 30 Years Between James Melvin and Suzanne Tate

Suzanne Tate and James Melvin have been working together on Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series of children’s books for 30 years. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, and tonight their collaboration was celebrated at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery

Part of the first First Friday Celebration of the year, Suzanne and James also included the release of their latest book, Merr-Lee Monarch, A Tale of a Big Trip in their evening.

James Melvin is an amazing artist in his own right—a man of remarkable talent and vision that seems comfortable working in a wide variety of medians. In this book that talent seems to leap off the pages in depictions of butterflies and gardens that are rich in color and captivating in their complexity.

The story itself is one of Suzanne’s more adventurous.

She remarked in an interview that a friend who lived in South Nags Head had monarch butterflies that returned every year. As she investigated she found that this particular swarm of butterflies migrates between the mountains of Mexico and the Outer Banks very year.

As is always the case with her books, it is scientifically accurate, although of course, written for children between the ages of 3-7/

Children will certainly enjoy the story and identify with Merri-Lee or her brother, Monty. Adults may very well find the pictures fascinating in their complexity and use of color.

As First Fridays go, this was a wonderful way to begin the annual celebration of downtown Manteo. The weather was beautifully spring-like. We’ll have a pretty strong front drop temperatures by 25 degrees or so on Saturday, but the evening celebration did manage to sneak some good weather in.

The next First Friday will be May 4. For anyone on the Outer Banks at that time, it should be on the to do list.

Downtown Manteo Weekend Party Welcomes Summer

The 2017 Dare Days in Manteo may have been the best attended yet.
The 2017 Dare Days in Manteo may have been the best attended yet.

With a generous contribution from the weather, downtown Manteo was definitely the place to be this weekend.

On Friday the first First Friday of the summer kicked the season off in spectacular fashion followed by what may have been the best Dare Days celebration in some time.

First Friday

The June First Friday has traditionally featured musicians from area high schools and this year was no exception. The Jazz bands of First Flight High School, Manteo High School and First Flight Middle School were on hand to fill the air with music and they were good.

A small group of singers from the First Flight High School Advance Choir was also on hand. They, too, were excellent.

First Friday is a wonderful way to get ready for the month and with near perfect weather and great entertainment, it certainly achieved its goal.

Dare Days

The big event for the weekend, though, was the 42 Annual Dare Days.

This is an event that needs to be experienced to fully appreciate. Part street fair, part celebration of small town life and a way to bring in the summer season, this year’s event seemed bigger and better than ever.

There was a nice little touch with a map of the United States that the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau was displaying. People who stopped by their booth got a little sticker that they could place on the map showing their hometown. It was astonishing seeing how wide the geographic distribution of visitors was—and it’s not even peak season yet.

The music was fantastic. The original Rondells kicked things off at 11, but with two stages, there was always music happening.

This was truly a family friendly event with a real effort to make it fun for kids. There were rides and Kitty Hawk Kites brought their climbing wall. Island School of Dance was on hand with tap shoes for kids to try out. A little girl about three was on the floor holding the owner’s hand and the hand of a student, learning how to tap. Great stuff.

No one was starving on Saturday—four or five booths serving funnel cake; lots of lemonade; food trucks were on hand…the streets of Manteo seemed to be brimming with color and people.

Manteo Is the Place to Be This Weekend

With Dare Days and First Friday on tap, Manteo is the place to be this weekend. Making it even better, the Outer Banks weather is looking great for Friday and Saturday.

First Friday

First Friday is the Manteo celebration of small town life the first Friday of the month from April through October. What makes the June First Friday special is it’s the first one of the summer.

Centered around the Dare County Arts Council Gallery, that used to be the County Courthouse, First Friday includes live music on the steps and inside a featured artist every month.

First Friday, though spreads out across the downtown waterfront area of the town, with live music from two or three other venues, food prepared from carts on the street and shops open late.

Dare Days

Dare Days, though, is certainly the highlight of the weekend.

This is the 42nd Annual Dare Days and it has become a wonderful celebration of Dare County and its culture.

A family oriented day, there are street vendors out serving food, lots of game and great live music.

The games are imaginative and look to be fun.

There is the Blue Ribbon Competition, a cooking contest with contestants in age groups 6-12, 13-17 and adults. And what are they preparing: Cookies, Breads, Pies, Candy, Cakes, Pickles, Jelly, Jam and Preserves, and Salsa and Relish. In other words, a little bit of everything.

There is also an “Everything That Floats but a Boat Race,” a Kid’s zone and, more.

There are two stages set up for live music, and looking over the lineup…it’s pretty impressive. The Original Rondells bring amazing vocals to the stage; Jonny Waters will be on hand with his tight rocking country rock arrangements. Also a new band that’s getting a lot of recognition, The Ramble will be playing.

Arts and craft booths will line the streets, music always playing, lots for kids to do…it should be a great day.