Thanksgiving Start of Outer Banks Holiday Traditions

Decorations at the Elizabethan Gardens Grand Illumination.
Decorations at the Elizabethan Gardens Grand Illumination.

Thanksgiving is a pretty special holiday on the Outer Banks. It is certainly a family time when many of our homeowners come with their children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters to celebrate the holiday. Of course for the those of us who live here, it’s much the same—a day to treasure time with family and close friends.

The holiday weekend is also when many of the traditions that have become so much a part of our season fill the days.

We’re highlighting four that are occurring over Thanksgiving weekend but there is much more to do on the Outer Banks. Check out our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates Event Listings for more information.

Grand Illumination


Friday, November 25

Elizabethan Gardens, Roanoke Island

Every December the Elizabethan Gardens fills the paths, plants and trees of the Gardens with hundreds of thousands of lights. It is a wonderful, dazzling spectacle and one that creates a lifetime memory.

The Grand Illumination is the first night of the event and includes children’s and high schools choirs, hot chocolate and a visit for Santa Claus.

Hanging with Santa and Kites with Lights


Friday & Saturday, November 25, 26

Kitty Hawk Kites, Nags Head

Thanksgiving is traditionally when Santa makes his first appearance and the jolly elf has been stopping by Kitty Hawk Kites at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing for as long as anyone can remember. Friday and Saturday, Santa stops by for a visit, late morning to early afternoon. Saturday evening, huge kites take to the sky over Jockey’s Ridge State Park festooned with lights.



Saturday, November 26

Sanctuary Vineyards, Jarvisburg

Oysters, and lot of them…all you can eat. Steamed to perfection, local beer and wine, crab and barbecue while it lasts. Sanctuary Vineyards is part of a working farm and there are hayrides for kids and kids at heart as well as live music.

Christmas Arts and Craft Fair


Saturday, November 26

Baum Center, Kill Devil Hills

A great event for a great cause. Proceeds benefit the Outer Banks Woman’s Club scholarship program and charitable giving. Arts, crafts and homemade goodies. What’s not to like?