Stepping into spring...

By Molly Harrison | Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Taken in winter. At the Y Polar Plunge. Which is Saturday.

Good news: The osprey are back. I first spotted one setting up its nest over the Currituck Sound a couple of weeks ago, and I've been seeing more ever since. Osprey sightings and highly unpredictable weather are signs that spring is on its way. Great news: We all know that the first day of spring is on Sunday, right? We're almost through another winter (though I'll miss it just a wee bit)...

No so good news: Dark mornings again! Ouch. Bad news: The Coast Guard is considering closing Oregon Inlet due to dangerous shoaling conditions. Also, certain Republican members of the N.C. Senate have filed a bill to repeal the ban on plastic bags that Marc Basnight worked to establish. I know there are varying opinions on this, but mine is disgust. I mean we finally got a green practice enforced on the Outer Banks and now some people want to take even that one thing away. Gawd. They say that consumers aren't using the cloth bags, as intended, but only using more paper bags instead of plastic. Here's an idea: Stores, charge for paper bags. Then people will bring reusable bags with them when they shop! What do you think? Post some comments below on your thoughts about the plastic bag issue, will you?...

I know this is miniscule bad news compared to what some of the earth's family is enduring right now in places like Japan and the Middle East. And luckily we are free to choose what we want to do this week, so let's move on to shinier, happier things like what's going on this week on the Outer Banks...

The big deal of the week is Outer Banks Taste of the Beach. * Some people I've talked to are confused about what the event is, so here is a debriefing: Over four days from March 17 to 20, restaurants on the Outer Banks host special food-and-drink-related events at their restaurants or other locations. Think wine tastings, brewery tours, coffee cuppings, wine dinners, pub crawls, tapas crawls, cooking classes, celebrity chef appearances, a chowder cookoff, a fish fry, special dinner menus and much more. There are more than 50 events in all. * Go to www.obxtasteofthebeach.com and click on Events Calendar to see what's going on. Some of these events sell out, so it's best go online early in the week and buy tickets for what you want to do. * The finale of the festival is OBX Grand Tasting, presented by Towne Bank of Currituck. This event features more than 20 local restaurants and beverage merchants and is held at Pamlico Jack's in Nags Head at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $50 and this is going to be fun. Get your tickets now!...

The next big thing this week is the good ol' Kelly's St. Patrick's Parade on Sunday. * "Will there be candy?!?!" is the first thing my children want to know, with panic-stricken looks. Do other towns throw candy at parades or is this strictly an OBX thing? In my youth, there was no candy, you just went for the spectacle not the sugar - but that was long ago and far away. * The parade route is from MP 11.5 to MP 10.5 and it starts at 1 p.m. Head to Kelly's afterward for the post-party...

Here's some other good stuff going on this week:

The Dare County Arts Council's Literary Open Mic readings are getting exciting, with a wide range of writers and readers participating. The next event is this Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Nags Head Front Porch Café. You can read or listen...

A moonlight hike of the Run Hill portion of Nags Head Woods is on the calendar for Friday at 6 p.m. The N.C. Aquarium is guiding this one and it's $7 per person. Pre-register by calling (252) 473-3494...

Saturday at noon is the Outer Banks Family YMCA's 14th Annual Polar Plunge. This event raises money for the Y's We Build People Campaign, which gives people scholarships to the Y for memberships, swimming lessons, summer camps, youth sports and Y-change programs. In other words, it allows people who need the Y but can't afford it to take advantage of its programs. A good cause. It costs $45 for members and $55 for nonmembers and you get a T-shirt, a great meal from Outback and the bragging rights of being bold enough to jump into 45 degree water! If you don't want to jump in the ocean yourself, you can sponsor someone who is, like Y Executive Director Katie Burgus. Call (252) 449-8897...

Saturday is also the Kelly's 3rd Annual Running of the Leprechauns 8K. This 5-mile run is in Nags Head, a good portion of it through Nags Head Woods, and it ends at Kelly's with a post-race party. Go to www.outerbanksrunningclub.com for info...

Saturday is the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation's annual Spring Dance. It's from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Hatteras Civic Center and offers up a buffet, beer, wine, soda, setups and a new band called Big Daddy Rhythm and the Heavyweights. Cost is $50 per person and tickets are at all Hatteras Realty offices, Spa Koru and Inn on Pamlico Sound. Call (252) 995-4718...

Corolla Wild Horse Fund's annual Night at the Races is on Saturday in Kitty Hawk. It's at the Hilton Garden Inn from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets ($35 per person) include hors d'eouvres, horse racing, a silent auction, prizes, raffles and more and all proceeds benefit the wild horses. Call (252) 453-8002...

Even more for horse lovers: There's a fun horse show at the Currituck County Rural Center in Powells Point on Saturday at 9 a.m. Entry fees are only $5 per class and spectator entry is only $1 or one canned food item. Call (252) 232-2262...

Thursday through Sunday there's the 4th Annual Shamrock All Wheels Show and Poker Run sponsored by First Flight Cruisers. It's an open class (all years, makes and models) car, truck and motorcycle show. There's a sock hop at Big Al's, the Hooter's Poker Run and the big show at R/C Kill Devil Hills Movies on Saturday. Then they'll all be in the parade on Sunday. Go to www.firstflightcruisers.com...

If you're going out late night this weekend (post Taste of the Beach events, of course) here's what on: Kelly's has Laura Martier early then Communion late on Thursday, the Janitors on Friday and Saturday and Naomi Black on Sunday; Brewing Station has reggae with Pato Banton on Friday and The Lee Boys on Saturday; Poor Richards has the Wilder Brothers on Saturday; Beach Road Grill has Matt McGuire on Friday...

That's all I've got for now. If I overlooked something, post a comment about it online and then the world (well, a small portion thereof) will see it...

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. When not working she practices and teaches yoga and spends as much time as possible outside and in or on the water with her husband and two children.