Outer Banks 4th of July an All Day Affair

Fireworks over Avalon Pier, Kill Devil Hills.
Fireworks over Avalon Pier, Kill Devil Hills.

On the Outer Banks the 4th of July is pretty much an all day affair. There’s a parade; there’s a street fair—two of them, really. And of course fireworks. Spectacular fireworks.

One of our favorite ways to start our Independence Day celebration and really get us in the mood for the rest of the day is to check out the town of Duck’s 4th of July parade.

Parade, Town of Duck, 9:00 a.m.

Nothing that we have seen is quite like it. It is this wonderful combination of the weird, wacky and love of country that it is impossible to walk away and not be smiling.

Plan to arrive a bit early. Parking and traffic can be a problem.

 The Duck parade is a morning event, so there’s plenty of time to get ready for the afternoon events.

There are two of them and they lead right into some spectacular fireworks.

Whalehead Club, Corolla, 3:00 p.m.

Fireworks at Dusk

Games, competitions and rides geared toward children during the afternoon. Lots of food vendors are always on hand and usually there’s fundraiser or church group thrown in the mix with some delicious homemade goodies.

The setting is beautiful and the fireworks over Currituck Sound is as good as it gets.

Manteo Waterfront, 3:00 p.m.

The Manteo 4th of July festivities are street fair and celebration all rolled into one. 

A lot of food vendors, craft booths, offbeat and original competitions—Wacky Hat and Best Bike Decoration contests—and the traditional. Best apple pie…it doesn’t get any more traditional than that.

Live music all day. Just a wonderful, wonderful time.

The fireworks are lit off at Roanoke Island Festival Park, but can be easily seen anywhere along the waterfront.

Just Fireworks

Nags Head, Nags Head Fishing Pier

Kill Devil Hills, Avalon Pier

There is something indescribably wonderful about sitting on the beach and watching fireworks. Making it better, the towns do a really nice job of putting on an excellent show.

The two locations are about five miles apart, so it is possible to sit in the middle of the piers and watch both shows. Some of the sound and effects are lost over distance, but it is a pretty cool experience.

We hope you’re as excited as we are at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates about celebrating our nation’s birthday.

An Outer Banks 4th of July-What to Do

4th of July in the Town of Duck. A wonderfully whacky parade.
4th of July in the Town of Duck. A wonderfully whacky parade.

With July 4th coming this Wednesday, plans have to be made about how to observe our nation’s birthday, and with so much to do on the Outer Banks it may be difficult to figure out just what is the best way to celebrate.

From the Whalehead Club in Corolla to the town of Manteo, there are festivals scheduled all day.

Our Joe Lamb Jr., & Associates recommendation is to keep it close to home; the after fireworks traffic can be pretty heavy. However, for anyone feeling a bit more adventurous, by all means, venture out.

Here’s what’s happening in a somewhat chronological order.

Town of Duck

The Town of Duck’s annual 4th of July Parade is wonderfully whacky way to start the day. The parade begins at 9:00 a.m. but get there a little bit early—traffic and parking can be a problem.

After the parade, head over to the Town Green for free watermelon and the sounds of a Dixieland band.

Corolla

It’s an all day event at the Whalehead Club with activities beginning at 3:00 p.m.

This is a great family event with live music, games, rides and food.

The fireworks over Currituck Sound are always among the most spectacular.

Town of Manteo

A wonderful way to spend the day. Like the Corolla celebration, everything begins at 3:00 p.m.

Live music all day and food vendors line the streets.

A real treat to go along with the fireworks that are held at Roanoke Island Festival Park—the 208th Army Band will be performing from 8:00 p.m. until the fireworks are set off.

Nags Head

Fireworks will use the Nags Head Fishing Pier for their platform. The scheduled time for the beginning of the show is 9:25 p.m.

The Nags Head police have asked people to not block intersections or driveways when parking. The police will be on hand to help direct parking.

Kill Devil Hills

Avalon Pier will be the center of firework activities this year. The scheduled time for the beginning of the show is 9:25 p.m.

And now for something completely different.

To get a little different view of the fireworks, stake out a spot on the top of Jockey’s Ridge. The firework displays of Nags Head and Manteo are visible from that vantage point—although they are a bit distant. It’s one of the very few times during the year that Jockey’s Ridge State Park authorities allow visitors past sunset.

A Fantastic Independence Day Week on the Outer Banks

Fireworks at Kill Devil Hills, Friday July 7, 2017.
Fireworks at Kill Devil Hills, Friday July 7, 2017.

What a great Independence Day week we just had here on the Outer Banks–parades, fireworks and small town feel made it ideal. Everything just seemed to fall into place to create a memorable time.

July 4th, the official holiday, sure was fun. Yes, there were some weather issues—the Whalehead Club had to cancel their fireworks because of storms—but there were enough celebrations elsewhere to make up for that.

The Celebrations

We always start at the town of Duck’s Independence Day parade because it is such a perfect reminder of what Outer Banks life is all about. Then it was off to Manteo with its small town feel and a wonderful evening of music from the 208th Army Band at Roanoke Island Festival Park.

Yes, it was raining just a bit, but it never rained hard at all and the umbrellas were out. Off in the distance we could see the Nags Head fireworks going off, and then it was Manteo’s turn, and the town truly seemed to outdo themselves this year.

Extending Independence Day Celebrations

What really seemed to mark the 2017 celebrations as different was a classic example of making lemons from lemonade.

It seems licensed fireworks companies were in short supply this year, and the town of Kill Devil Hills couldn’t find anyone who could qualify to put on a show on the Fourth. They were able, though, to schedule their display on Friday.

A bit of a delay but it seemed to change the feel for the week. Somewhat like stretching Christmas out to three or four days.

The beach was packed on both sides of Avalon Pier where the fireworks were lit, and no matter what the location on the beach, the show was spectacular.

It was a nice way to celebrate our nation’s birth and a great way to remember there is far more that binds us as Americans than it may appear at times.

Kill Devil Hills 4th of July Fireworks Friday Night

Extending the 4th of July celebration. Fireworks on the beach at Kill Devil Hills this Friday.
Extending the 4th of July celebration. Fireworks on the beach at Kill Devil Hills this Friday.

The Celebrations

We had a spectacular 4th of July for most of the Outer Banks. The Duck Parade was every bit as whacky and wonderful as ever, and the watermelon at the end of it was perfect.

Manteo really came through this year with a wonderful outdoor concert from the 208th Army Band at Roanoke Island Festival Park followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

And Nags Head…there is something beautiful and powerful about celebrating the birth of our nation with fireworks on the edge of a continent. Looking east, there is only the vast darkness of the sea, and the lights of the fireworks are like a beacon of freedom in the darkness.

Kill Devil Hills Fireworks

There’s still a chance to catch some Independence Day fireworks, even if the event isn’s quite on Independence Day.

Kill Devil Hills will be holding their pyrotechnics show tomorrow night—that’s Friday June 7. Evidently the demand for fireworks was so great this year that it could not be scheduled earlier.

But in this case it seems to have worked out well.

Tuesday, which was July 4th this year, was an iffy day for weather;  there were threats of rain and rain showers all day. At RIFP there was a light occasional rain throughout the performance of the Army Band, but that didn’t keep what looked like 1500 people away.

But the weather did put the Whalehead Club plans on hold and at last check we didn’t see anything about rescheduling, so it looks as though Corolla may not have fireworks this year.

Admittedly it’s a bit of a trek from Corolla Kill Devil Hills—about 25-30 miles. In the winter it’s about a 45 minute trip. In the summer? Figure an hour to an hour and ten minutes. But if fireworks are part of the July 4th week itinerary, there is an option for visitors staying in Corolla.

Grab a beach towel and maybe a beach chair and put some time aside to enjoy fireworks on the beach in Kill Devil Hills.

Outer Banks Independence Day Celebrations

4th of July, 2016. Fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean.
4th of July, 2016. Fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean.

It looks as though the annual Independence Day celebrations on the Outer Banks are going to be extended a bit this year. According to reports in local media, Kill Devil Hills had to move their fireworks celebration to Friday evening because of a shortage of fireworks.

Regardless, that’s not a completely bad situation since it gives everyone a chance to see the night sky painted with fireworks.

We always recommend starting at the Duck Independence Day Parade. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the parade is the first event of the day, and it is a great way to get in the mood for a day of fun and celebration. A whacky tribute to the American spirit, its worth the effort getting there. Parking can be a bit of an issue so get there early or expect to walk.

We haven’t heard of anything special being planned for the Whalehead Club but this is their 25th Anniversary of Fireworks. It’s always a daylong event at Currituck Heritage Park, the location of the Whalehead Club, and a day that’s wonderfully geared toward families.

Ditto on that for Manteo which is another of those quintessentially American celebrations of Independence. The Army Band will be on hand at Roanoke Island Festival Park to provide live music. And that will be followed by fireworks.

Nags Head will be holding their fireworks at 9:25 and that may be the place to be. There is something magical about sitting on a beach towel, on a summer’s night at the edge of a continent of freedom. As the night sky is lit with exploding colors it’s a reminder of how precious our freedoms are.

Independence Day Schedule of Events

(Events arranged by time)

9:00 a.m.

Duck Parade
Scarborough Lane to Pamela Court
Live music by Just Playn’ Dixieland and awards ceremony, Duck Town Park, after parade

Noon
25th Annual Independence Day Celebration

Festival of Fireworks, Whalehead Club

Historic Corolla Park

3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Independence Day celebration, Manteo

208th Army Band concert, Roanoke Island Festival Park, 8 p.m.

Fireworks, downtown waterfront

9:25

Nags Head Fireworks, Nags Head Pier

All Day: Statewide
Free fishing on any body of water in North Carolina, no license required.

Friday, July 7

Kill Devil Hills
Fireworks, Avalon Pier, 9:15 p.m.

(All Fireworks begin between 9:15 and 9:30)

Three Outer Banks Parks for the Whole Family

Sandy Run Park in Kitty Hawk is an ideal place for a family to introduce children to nature.
Sandy Run Park in Kitty Hawk is an ideal place for a family to introduce children to nature.

The Outer Banks prides itself in being a family oriented place for a family to visit and there is a lot for the whole family to do while here.

There are the obvious things…going to the beach, checking out the Wright Brothers Memorial, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on Hatteras Island.

Sometimes though, it’s the small things that make a place special and the Outer Banks does that well too. Especially the town and county parks that often offer a break from the regular vacation things to do.

Here are three Outer Banks parks, all of them absolutely suitable for families

Whalehed Club, Corolla

The Whalehead Club seems to have something for the whole family.
The Whalehead Club seems to have something for the whole family.

The Whalehead Club, which is part of Currituck County Heritage Park, isn’t so much a park as it is a place to visit.

With a large, expansive lawn kids can run until they drop; the setting is exquisite so Mom and Dad can spend some time just enjoying the view.

Lots of activities here too, with a tour of the Whalehead Club available, the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is a wonderful small museum and of course Currituck Beach Lighthouse begs to be climbed.

Sandy Run, Kitty Hawk

Located on the Woods Road in Kitty Hawk, Sandy Run Park is a beautiful example of

a maritime forest and wetlands.

A boardwalk circles the pond and wetlands and in the summer hundreds of turtles like to sun themselves on logs that are on the surface of the pond. Kids will love that.

There is also a catch and release area for fishermen.

Local families make this a regular spot to bring their children because of its beauty and the chance to talk to kids about the natural environment.

Dowdy Park, Nags Head

Dowdy Park--a great playground for kids.
Dowdy Park–a great playground for kids.

The newest edition to the Outer rBanks Park scene, seems like it has something for everyone.

There is a beautifully designed playground with some really innovative concepts—a swing designed for a child who is in a wheelchair is just one of the design features that make this a must see place.

For the adults , there is a fitness trail. For everyone, there are picnic pavilions, covered tables and grills.

Easter Egg Hunting Time on the OBX

The Easter Bunnies are revving up their greetings, the weather is looking fantastic for the weekend and there are some great Easter Egg hunts on tap for the kids on the Outer Banks.

We admit it…we’re suckers for watching kids scramble across grassy fields or almost any open space searching for Easter Eggs. There is something so innocent and so fun about seeing the excitement on a child’s face when they find an egg that makes the world seem like a better place.

And there’s a pretty good selection of Easter Egg hunts, or “Eggstravaganzas” as many of them are called on the Outer Banks this weekend. So there’s no excuse for not taking that son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter or yourself to one of the events.

Be sure to check the dates on the events. Some are on Friday the 14th some Saturday and some Sunday.

Have fun, find lots of eggs and take lots of pictures.

23rd Annual Cotton Gin Easter Egg Hunt

Cotton Gin, Jarvisburg

April 16

2:00 p.m.

On the north lawn. Hayrides, the Easter Bunny and 1000s of eggs.

Whalehead Club Egg-Stravaganza

Whalehead Club, Historic Corolla Park

April 14

1pm to 3pm

Little kids (2 & under) at 1:45pm; Older kids (3-5 & 6-8) 2:00pm.  Also, visit with the Easter Bunny, sack races, jellybean counting contest, bean bag toss, bake sale, hot dogs and, much more!

Kitty Hawk Kites Eggstravaganza

Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, Nags Head

Friday, April 14 – Saturday, April 15
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Start the 2017 season off right with Kitty Hawk Kites. Whether you’re visiting for the holiday or “stuck here on purpose,” come out and watch massive 30 – 100 foot kites flying high over Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Across the street from the dunes, take your picture with the Easter Bunny, and let your kids join in the Jockey’s Ridge Crossing egg hun

Easter Eggstravaganza 2017

Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo

April 15

10a.m-1:00 p.m.

Egg spoon races, hat contest, musical acts, dancers, special visit from Sir  Walter “Peter” Wabbit, make and take crafts, egg roll race, find special prize eggs to win: prizes, gift certificates, stuffed animals and more! Hop on over to attend our “Please bring your own Easter Basket for collecting eggs and prizes.”

Cold & Snow Bring OBX Magic to Corolla

Whalehead Club boathouse with the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in the snow.
Whalehead Club boathouse with the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in the snow.

It snowed yesterday on the Outer Banks an it’s cold today. By any standards, it’s cold. The daytime temperatures struggled to make to 25 degrees and there was a brisk northwest wind all day to make it seem more like 12 or 15.

Even though we didn’t get much snow there wasn’t much melting. From the Village of Duck and south it was really just a coating, and it’s still laying in the ground.

North of Duck, though, it did snow.

Everything started as a cold rain on Friday night, but by early afternoon, the Village of Corolla looked like a scene from a Currier and Ives New England lithograph from the 19th century.

North of the village the maritime forest of the Currituck Banks Estuarine Reserve lost the vibrant green of summer beneath a blanket of white. There were reports that some of the Corolla Wild Horse herd was wandering through the woods, scraping the snow from grasses and plants; taking shelter, no doubt, from the wind.

The wind was a howling merciless foe along the sound. Looking into the wind, the snow—with a little bit of sleet mixed in—was painful to face. And no amount of layers or winter clothing could stop the cold from seeping through.

Yet it was undeniably beautiful.

It was snowing so hard in the afternoon that it looks as though a haze had fallen over Corolla. From the Whalehead Club, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse which usually looms over the grounds, became a towering shadow, its brick red walls an indistinct gray in the snow.

There was almost no one out during the afternoon; the wind, the cold and the snow were an effective deterrent to spending much time outside. With so few people about, there were no footprints in the snow, and no sound except for the wind and the music of falling snow.

The snow and cold weather is a temporary thing—jutting out into the ocean as the Outer Banks does temperatures rarely stay below freezing for long. But for one day at least, there was winter magic in the Village of Corolla.

Outer Banks Sites for Soundside Fishing

Whalehed Club boat basin. A great place to take kids fishing.
Whalehed Club boat basin. A great place to take kids fishing.

Fall is fishing time on the Outer Banks. The surf and pier fishing has really picked up, there’s lots and lots of tournaments scheduled for the season and offshore has been reporting a banner year.

Not everyone, though, is wants to fish the ocean, so we checked with some local fisherman about some great locations to fish on the sounds.

WHALEHEAD CLUB BOAT BASIN

A protected spot, and there are some surprises here. Flounder have been caught in the basin—surprising because the water there is mostly fresh. Also look for big mouth bass. A great location for kids.

Little Bridge, Manteo Causeway

One of the most popular places around. There’s usually something biting. Rumor has it a great trout hole lives on the south side.

Roanoke Island, South of Washington Baum Bridge Boat Ramp

At the end of the Ramp there’s a dock built by NC Marine Fisheries and locals swear by it. Rock fish seem to really like the waters there, and spot are very common.

If crossing the Washington Baum Bridge, turn left at the light at Pirates Cove.

South Side of Oregon Inlet

A great place to take kids and it’s almost ocean fishing. Just on the south side of the Bonner Bridge, there’s parking with an easy trail that leads to a shallow lagoon or small bay. The bay is very sheltered and is a great place for kids to learn how to fish.

Fall Is Music Fest Time on the OBX

Steep Canyon Rangers, headlining Thursday night at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.
Steep Canyon Rangers, headlining Thursday night at the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival.

Fall is music festival time on the Outer Banks and there is some great entertainment lined up beginning this week with the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what to expect.

Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival

September 21-24

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. Thursday and Friday.
Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. Thursday and Friday.

Some of the biggest names in Bluegrass will be coming to the Outer Banks this week. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage will take the stage twice; look for them on Thursday afternoon and Friday evening.

Steep Canyon Rangers will also be performing on Thursday, taking the stage at 7:45. In a music style dominated by great musicians, Steep Canyon really stands out with tight arrangements and innovative sounds.

Also look for Gene Watson on Friday and the Soggy Bottom Boys on Saturday to closeout the Festival.

Hatterasity-A Bluegrass Block Party

October 8-11

Hatterasity is a Hatteras Village bluegrass happening, there’s some great local talent—but local talent in this case is Ocracoke’s Molasses Creek with a national reputation. There’s also a great jam session to kick things off on Tuesday evening—bring your instrument and sit in.

Mustang Music Festival

October 9-10

Lettuce-funk band. One of the headliners at the Mustang Music Festival.
Lettuce-funk band. One of the headliners at the Mustang Music Festival.

Promoter Mike Dianna has created one of the best music festivals around. His move two years ago to the Whalehead Club brought the festival to the perfect setting for Mike’s vision of music at all times.

The two day festival features two stages, so that when one band is playing the other is getting ready to go. No breaks between performance…one stops the next one starts.

The music is always worth the price of admission—Mike consistently manages to bring groups to the Outer Banks that are right on the cusp of going to the next level and it shows.

This is a very family friendly event with proceeds going to two great causes—the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and the Mustang Music Program that works with kids to learn how to perform music.

Duck Jazz Festival

October 11

Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, headline the 10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival.
Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, headline the 10th Annual Duck Jazz Festival.

The 2016 version of the festival is the 10th Annual and the lineup this year is amazing.
Headliners Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo may be the finest jazz guitarists around—certainly the people they have loved with over the years would seem to indicate that.

Their styles are smooth and expressive—a classic jazz sound.

The setting is perfect. There may not be any place better to sit outside, sip some wine and take in a free outdoor jazz concert than the Duck Town Green.