10 Ways to Welcome Spring on the Outer Banks

By Molly Harrison | Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Spring is less than a week away, and, as expected, the cold winds of March are blowing. Never for a moment think that just because the weather in January and February was delightful that March will be the same. It’s always windy and cold here in March.

Kudos, though, to all the college spring breakers for making the best of it. The last two weeks I’ve seen packs of them playing football on the beach in a gale force Nor’easter, climbing Jockey’s Ridge with the NW wind blowing sand straight into their faces, lined up in beach chairs wearing hoodies and puffers, kiting in wetsuits in Roanoke Sound, piling into Surfin' Spoon and clearing out the seltzer and domestic beer coolers in Food Lion.

The college spring breakers get here a little too early for all the fun springtime events on the Outer Banks, which are starting to stack up this weekend. Keep reading to learn about 10 events happening on the Outer Banks in March and April to get you in that springtime mood whether it's cold and windy or warm and sunny. You’ll find dozens more things to do in our Daytime and Nightlife listings.

Photo: Kelly's St. Patrick's Day Parade is coming up on Sunday, March 19.

Running of the Leprechauns 5K and 10K

Saturday, March 18

The first event of the season for Outer Banks Sporting Events, this is a fun St. Patrick's Day-themed race through Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head Woods. As with all OBSE events, it’s a legit race with official timing, awards, medals, shirts and a great after party with beer. Wear green! You can register here

Photo: Kick off your St. Patrick's Day festivities with a 5K or 10K run on Saturday.

Kelly’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Sunday, March 19

Said to be the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in North Carolina, this annual parade on the beach road is the first sign of spring. The locals come out in full force, but just as many visitors come to town for just this event. With fire trucks, bands, floats, dancers, dogs, horses, crazy cars, unicyclists, clowns and general silliness of every sort, it is a guaranteed great time. Line up along the beach road between Bladen and Driftwood streets for the parade that starts at 1 p.m. After parties are held at restaurants all along the beach road from Swells’a Brewing to Mulligan’s and everywhere in between.

OBX Taste of the Beach

Friday, March 24 to Sunday, March 26

Outer Banks Restaurant Association’s annual foodie festival is always growing and innovating with a wide range of eclectic events. There are dozens of events – wine dinners, beer schools, cheese tastings, seafood dinners, oyster tours, chowder cookoffs, brunches, a race through a vineyard and so much more – and you can search them by category, day, venue or town. Browse the events and register here, but keep in mind that events are filling up fast!

Photo: OBX Taste of the Beach is a full-on foodie fest ranging from Corolla to Roanoke Island.

Sheep Shearing Day

Saturday, March 25

It’s not a huge festival or wild event – it’s a really sweet all-ages happening at Island Farm on Roanoke Island. The island’s resident sheep are hand-shorn and visitors are welcome to watch. This year a national sheep-shearing champion will be doing the work. In addition there’s butter-making, blacksmithing, crafts, wool-spinning and more activities from the mid-19th century. The event lasts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and an entrance fee is charged.

Eastertide in the Gardens

Saturday, April 8

The Elizabethan Gardens is the perfect place to celebrate spring and the springtime Easter holiday. Tulips and flowers in bloom are delightful no matter when you visit. But on April 8 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Eastertide Event welcomes families and children for an Easter egg hunt, games, crafts and vendors on the Great Lawn.

Photo: Celebrate Easter in The Elizabethan Gardens on Saturday, April 8.

Fly into Spring Easter Eggstravaganza

Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8

Warm spring days are a great time to climb Jockey's Ridge. Join Kitty Hawk Kites atop Jockey's Ridge State Park to see giant 30- and 100-foot kites. Visit the KHK store across the street for pictures with the Easter bunny and an egg hunt.

Lost Colony Wine and Culinary Festival

Saturday, April 15

Wines from around the globe, delicious food from local restaurants and music, all in a stunning setting, make for a blissful Saturday afternoon. A fundraiser for The Lost Colony, this event is held from 1 to 5 p.m. backstage at Waterside Theatre with views of Roanoke Sound. Tickets cost $75 for general admission and $35 for designated drivers. A Vintner’s Reception on Friday night costs $100. Buy tickets here.

Flying Pirate Half Marathon Weekend

Friday, April 21 to Sunday, April 23

Even if you don’t want to run the half-marathon on Sunday, there are many other ways to participate in this event. You can run the First Flight 5K or the Fun Run on Saturday or volunteer to help out for any of the events. They always need volunteers, and all of the proceeds are put back into community nonprofits. Register here.

Ocracoke Scallywag 5K, 10K and Half Marathon

Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24

Ocracoke is a super scenic and flat place to run. These races are so fun, with tons of visitors coming in on the ferry for a weekend of running and after-partying in the local establishments. The race proceeds are used to fund Ocracoke nonprofits, so you know you’re doing something for a great cause. Runocracoke.com

Bark in the Park

Saturday, April 23

Jockey’s Ridge State Park hosts this pet-friendly event to benefit Outer Banks SPCA. Held from 1 to 5 pm. It features vendors, live music, beer and wine, food and competitions for dogs and humans.

Photos: Visit Island Farm to see the resident sheep get shorn on March 25.

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of OuterBanksThisWeek.com. She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks.