Some locals call it the secret season. The surge of summer visitors has lessened as children return to school and families settle in for the year. It no longer takes an hour to drive to Duck on the weekend, and Corolla is finally accessible. But the hot weather is still here with temps in the 80s all week – we may even see 90 today – and ocean water warm enough to spend all day in. We’re almost into fall on the Outer Banks, when the surfing picks up with the wind, the fish migrate into our waters and giddy brides and grooms say their vows on empty beaches. It’s also the height of hurricane season, but luckily the forecast is calling for a slow one. And as for events, these next few months are prime time for festivals and local gatherings.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again . . . on the Outer Banks, we know art. And there are some truly talented artists who will be displaying their creations at art festivals this fall, the first of which is happening – that’s right – this week.
OBX Arts & Crafts Festival
As summer wraps up each year, local artists and art aficionados prepare for the OBX Arts & Crafts Festival. Twenty-five incredible artists from the Outer Banks will display their paintings, pottery, jewelry, photography, basketry, glasswork, metalwork, handmade soaps and more at this week’s event in Kitty Hawk. Entrance to the festival is free, and a portion of the artists’ proceeds will benefit the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T) and the Dare Literacy Council.
If you’ve seen a small, taped-off, square area on the beach, then you have seen N.E.S.T. in action protecting a sea turtle nest beneath the sand. They are an awesome organization on the Outer Banks dedicated to the protection of sea turtle habitats. The Dare Literacy Council also does amazing work, offering free tutoring services to adults. Support both at the OBX Arts & Crafts Festival, happening Wednesday, September 9 through Thursday, September 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Hilton Garden Inn. Make sure to thank the artists for helping such great causes, and buy some art too!
With a new month comes another First Friday celebration in downtown Manteo. Newcomers and First Friday vets, head to Manteo on Friday, September 4 for my all-time favorite street festival on the Outer Banks. If you’ve never been to Manteo before, this is a chance to see the small town really come alive. The historic waterfront pulses with live music, and period-dressed actors and artisans are at every corner. Many shops and restaurants host individual celebrations inside their establishments, offering their own live music and special sales. And framed by the Roanoke Sound, Kitty Hawk Kites raises their towering rock-climbing wall for the children – and grown adventurers like myself – who think they can reach the top. Arrive by car or boat to the fest, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m.
Zoso – The Ultimate Led Zeppelin experience
Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits are coming to the stage in Manteo this weekend. Zoso – The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience is more than just a tribute band, and I speak from personal experience after seeing the musicians live a few years ago. The group was formed in ’95 to perform the most accurate and captivating Led Zeppelin show since the real thing. Each band member has been carefully selected to portray both the appearance and playing styles of their Led Zeppelin counterparts, and in 18 years of touring, they have perfected the experience. The show starts on Saturday, September 5 at 5 p.m., and it’s happening at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo. Never been to the venue before? RIFP has sprawling lawns fit for chair and blanket lounging or for moving around if you’ve got rhythm. Tickets are $20, kids 10 and younger are free and parking passes are $10.
BIC Standup Paddleboard One Design Series
Those who love to drift on top of the water and those more intent on catching waves, I recommend standup paddleboarding to both of you. It’s been glassier than ever on the sound this summer – perfect for SUP advocates like myself – and I’ll bet the great conditions carry into this weekend for the final SUP event in the One Design Series. Kitty Hawk Surf Co. hosts the series in different towns throughout the summer season with this week’s competition happening on the Manteo waterfront. Beginners and experienced paddlers are welcome. It’s a competition, but it’s very family friendly. Head to Manteo on Sunday, September 6 at 1 p.m. to register for the event. SUPing starts at 1:30 p.m.
Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament
Surf fishing on the beaches of Hatteras is unlike anywhere else in the world. The collision of the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current creates unique fishing and surfing conditions, and it’s really something just to see the currents crashing together at Cape Hatteras – yes, you can actually see it! The fishing draws Outer Banks locals and anglers from all over the country for competitions like this month’s Hatteras Village Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament. Sponsored by the Hatteras Village Civic Association, more than 90 teams will be participating in the tournament on Thursday, September 10 and Friday, September 11.
Hurricane Isabel – Meeting the Challenge
Those of us who have been living on the Outer Banks since the early 2000s clearly remember the hurricane that created a new inlet down south. (Mostly I remember playing chess for three days while the power was out.) Sitting through one of the great storms can be nerve wracking, but according to Hatteras Islander Lynne Foster, the aftermath is sometimes just the beginning. On Tuesday, September 8, Foster will share memories of the infamous Hurricane Isabel, its effect on the island and how the people of Hatteras rose up to meet the formidable challenge. Her presentation is part of the Salty Dawgs Lecture Series at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, and it begins at 2 p.m. Although this hurricane season is expected to be light, I say always be prepared, and listening to Foster's first-hand account is a great way to do that and remember how Hatteras overcame the storm.
September is here, but summer isn’t over for those of us who live here or for our nightlife. Live music carries on throughout the year, but it’s especially big now with local names and visiting national acts taking the stage every night. There’s trivia and magic shows for the evening crowd and DJ dance parties for the late night crew. Visit our Nightlife & Events page to see all the happenings and plan your nights out on the Outer Banks.