2nd Annual Fun Fair a Great Time for Families

Every carnival has to have one--the Ferris Wheel at the 2nd Annual Fun Fair.
Every carnival has to have one–the Ferris Wheel at the 2nd Annual Fun Fair.

Sometimes there are so many things happening on the Outer Banks that we don’t quite get to mention everything until the event is past.

We’ll rack up the 2nd Annual Soundside Fun Fair to that explanation.

Fun Fair sounds great, but Carnival is what it really is.

A Great Time by Roanoke Sound

By no means is this a huge event, but the fun factor is off the charts with some great rides, fried dough, funnel cakes, arcade games…in short, everything expected in a traveling carnival.

And Outer Banks visitors and local families responded. Held Thursday through Thursday through Friday at the Nags Head Event Site, it was packed every night and every day.

Especially at night, with a breeze coming off Roanoke Sound, and the lights and sounds of rides and children laughing, it was magic. A step back in time perhaps, when the actual event eclipsed any vicarious experience.

Rides and Food

Favorite ride? That’s a tough one. The lines were long at the Fireball where cars drop along a circular track, faster and faster until everything goes all the way around the circle.

Then there was the Scooter—bumper cars. It doesn’t matter that they have probably been around for 60 or 70 years at least. Adults, kids, anyone driving them is smiling an laughing the whole time they are bumping into cars and being bumped into.

There were also the arcade games—and these are all of the classics. Trying to put a basketball through a very non regulation hoop; squirting water into the mouth of a clown figure to see who gets to the top first.

The funnel cakes, fresh out of the fryer—amazing. There was also a red velvet funnel cake, but the consensus was, go for the original.

The Soundside Fun Fair is a major fundraising event for Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County (CYP)—a local nonprofit that has worked wonders in reaching out to families with children.

Given how important the CYP mission is and the success of the fair, we’re certain it will be back next year.

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.

Food, Fun & Rides-Carnival Comes to Outer Banks


The carnival has come and gone. Really a shame because it was great fair—small but filled with fun things to do. And cotton candy, corndogs, hotdogs and hamburgers. And basketball hoops that always seem to be just a little bit smaller than the standard size.

Taking place at the Nags Head Evnet site and sponsored by Children and Youth Partnership of Dare (CYP), according to Executive Director Nancy Griffin, this one almost got away—that the opportunity came up about three months ago unexpectedly. Somehow the organization managed to pull it off, and the result has been four marvelous days for families. OK . . . four marvelous days for kids and the parents just sort of tag along, but there is something special in seeing a child’s face light up when they come off a ride.

The weather really cooperated as well. A bit hot today and it did get rained out toward the end, but there was a good breeze off the Roanoke Sound for all the days—and it was an evening event so the temperatures weren’t too bad.

Even though CYP was not able to get the word out as well as they had hoped, somehow, a few thousand people heard about it every night and the parking lot was filled with Outer Banks license plates–easy to tell, they’re the ones with “OBX” on them, a lot from Virginia and good sized smattering of visitors from other states.

The folks at CYP are already planning on brining the Carnival back next year, so we’ll look for a bigger and even better event next June.