Summer Season Kickoffs: Blues Festivals to Beach Nourishment

By Molly Harrison | Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sponsor a plank, get an engraved fish at Jennette's Pier.

Here it is. Another Memorial Day weekend. The unofficial start of summer. What did I do for all of May? Last year I had a vacation in France to show for the merry old month. This year, it whizzed by before my eyes - a smoke-filled haze of deadlines, soccer games, birthday parties, dance recitals, field trips and end-of-year school festivities. I can hardly remember any specifics... All I can say is I want my month back...

One memory I'll definitely have of this May is walking onto Jennette's Pier for the first time on Media Tour day last Thursday. Wow. Dozens of dolphins cresting in the green water to the north. A slew of surfers riding swells to the south. The hum of wind turbines overhead. School children peering through binoculars. * I have to admit I wasn't prepared to like the new pier as much as I do. I'm kind of a historic purist, I guess; I love an old wobbly pier. I was thinking Jennette's would feel too new and contrived. But, in an overused word, it's awesome. It feels indestructible and somehow charming at the same time. The interior is impressive as well, but my favorite part is the rocking chairs on the second story porch. They're open to the public if there's not an event going on. I can't wait to take my grandmother-in-law there. And it's open 24 hours, so I can't wait to go on a date with my husband there. * By the way, the plank sponsorships are still available. If you pony up 200 bucks, you get a cool engraved ceramic fish mounted into a plank. I heart mine! * Go to www.jennettespier.net for info. * Oh, and don't overlook our tried and true old piers. There's no experience like walking on those rippling boards and seeing the ocean between the cracks...

This week is the official North Carolina Hurricane Preparedness Week, so says Governor Purdue. * NOAA's seasonal outlook is calling for an above-normal hurricane season this year - 12 to 18 named storms, 6 to 10 becoming hurricanes and 3 to 6 becoming major hurricanes. * You don't need to fill the bathtub with water quite yet, but get those flashlight batteries and insurance papers ready...

It's happening people: the Town of Nags Head beach nourishment project is underway. The town is pumping 4.6 million cubic yards of sand onto 10 miles of beach. Yes, at the beginning of tourist season and all through the summer. They say it's the only time to do it. * It is weird to see all the dredging equipment loading into town - dredges and barges and pipes, weird wading vehicles and such. * Now all we can do is wait and see how it goes. A friend from Wrightsville Beach was here and acted like it was no big deal; apparently, they do it on Wrightsville so often that he's used to it. Hmmmm...

Hey, isn't this an events blog? you're asking. Why, yes, it is. So here are some upcoming events...

Lots of summer kick offs this week: The Lost Colony kicks off its 74th season on Friday. There's a Preview Night on Thursday, with reduced prices. Dare nights are next week, June 1-4, when Dare residents get in free with ID and a donation to the Food Pantry. The show runs every night but Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Backstage tours are held at 7 p.m., and new this year are Waterside Sunset Picnics before the show. Call (252) 473-3414...

The National Park Service programs in Cape Hatteras National Seashore start on Friday and the lighthouse starts in summer season hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. New this year are a tour of Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Coast Guard stations; a Weather Bureau tour; and a Night Climb of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse every Thursday. Call (252) 473-2111...

A new event in town is the Marsh Grass Music Festival on Sunday in Currituck Heritage Park in Corolla. From noon to 4 p.m. they'll have local bands for free. At 5 p.m. the gates will officially open for the big show and tickets will be required. Headliners will play from 6 to 10 p.m., including Jackie Scott and the Housewreckers, Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang and Approved by Snakes with Jason Ricci. Beer, wine and food concessions will be available. Tickets are $20 and VIP tickets are available for $75. Seating is on the lawn. Call (252) 453-9040...

Corolla Ocean Rescue is hosting the Surfside Scute 5K run/walk and a 1-mile Fun Run on Sunday. The 5K is at 8 a.m.; the Fun Run is at 7:30 a.m. Go to: www.corollaoceanrescue.com...

On the other end of the banks, here's what's happening on the in Hatteras and Ocracoke this week:

Kitty Hawk Kites is organizing the Hatteras Kite/SUP Expo and Kiteboarding Demo Days. They're doing this Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Waves Village Resort in Rodanthe. Go to www.kittyhawkkites.com...

There's an Empty Bowls Fundraiser on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cape Hatteras Secondary School. For $10, you'll get a bowl of soup or chili and a handmade ceramic bowl. Proceeds benefit Hatteras Island Meals and the Buxton Food Pantry...

Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station in Rodanthe is starting its popular programs again on Monday. Here's the rundown: Mondays are Nights in Rodanthe Movie: Behind the Scenes; Tuesdays are America's Forgotten Heroes; Wednesdays are The REAL Taffy of Torpedo Junction; Thursdays are the Beach Apparatus Drill; and Fridays are What REALLY Happened to the Lost Colony? Call (252) 987-1552...

Weekly fish fries in Hatteras Village and Avon start this week at the village fire stations. Both locations' events are from 5 to 7 p.m. Call (252) 995-5651 for info...

Ocracoke is hosting its Fireman's Ball on Saturday night at the Ocracoke Community Center. A dance, auction and pig pickin' will raise money for a much-needed fire hall. Dinner starts at 5 p.m., auction at 7 p.m., dance at 8:30 p.m. Get your tickets at the door. Go to www.ocracokevfd.org...

There's a lot of live music on Ocracoke this weekend. Howard's, Dajio's and Gaffers are doing it up for the holiday weekend. Check our Nightlife listings...

Up here on the middle banks, the Outer Banks Comedy Club kicks off on Thursday with Ryan Hamilton and Steve Seolberg. Hamilton is a major name on the standup scene. Sure, you could catch him on Comedy Central but it's got to be better live... Comedy Club is at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in KDH. Call (252) 207-9950...

Outer Banks Brewing Station celebrates its 10-year anniversary on Thursday with bands in the back yard from 4 p.m. to sundown and all-day specials. Congratulations to those guys!...

Everybody's got live music this weekend. Here are some highlights: Jesse Chong Band at Brewing Station on Saturday; Gangsters of Love at Jolly Roger on Saturday; Wilder Brothers at Peppercorns on Friday; Boogie Nights at Port O'Call on Friday; music on the patio at Ocean Blvd. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Underground District at Beach Road Grill on Saturday; Josh Burgess Band on Thursday, Communion on Friday and Kirsten Thein Band on Saturday at Poor Richard's; Toubab Krewe and the Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad at Kelly's on Thursday...

All right now, get out there and make some memories on the last weekend in May. That's what I'm going to be doing. I've gotta catch up...

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.