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Year-Round Fun: The Best Events in Ocracoke Island, NC

Ocracoke Island in North Carolina is a popular year-round destination, drawing visitors from all over the United States with its pristine beaches, unique charm, and rich history.

Besides all of the above, the island’s popularity is steadily increasing each year due to a variety of annual events catering to both locals and visitors, spanning from traditional celebrations to special festivals and even pirate battle reenactments. The local community actively organizes these events, creating a welcoming atmosphere for everyone to join the fun. 

Wondering what the best events in Ocracoke Island, NC are? You’re in the right place. This blog will bring you the best year-round events in Ocracoke Island, NC.

Let’s dive into it!



Ocracoke Island Waterfowl Festival, April


The traditional duck decoys made by local artisans hold significant importance on Ocracoke Island, NC, due to their historical, cultural, and craftsmanship value.

If you want to learn everything there is to know about the craft of decoy making, this event is for you! Usually happening in April and presented by the Ocracoke Island Decoy Carvers Guild, the Annual Ocracoke Island Waterfowl Festival attracts all kinds of attendees, from enthusiasts to carvers showcasing and selling their items.

There are decoy carvings of redheads, ruddy ducks, sprigtail, blue bills, ringnecks, swans, geese, shorebirds, and more, along with artwork and other artifacts related to North Carolina’s rich waterfowl tradition. There are lots of items that you can buy, including T-shirts, posters, and raffles.

Younger kids will love the activities they organize for the little ones, and you can satisfy your cravings at the bake sale. It is a great and very unique event!



5K Blackbeard Run


Scallywag 5k/10k and 1/2 Marathon, April


How about a burst of excitement to unleash that pent-up energy? This runfest that happens in late April includes a half marathon, 5K, and 10K races, as well as a one-mile family fun run. The races take place in the village of Ocracoke through historic roads, around Silver Lake Harbor, and by the Ocracoke Lighthouse. You’ll really enjoy the views of the quaint neighborhoods.

Each participant receives a T-shirt and a medal at the end — meaning everyone’s a winner for taking part! Still, the top three male and female contestants of each category receive an award.

It’s a highly anticipated event that draws runners of all skill levels. The atmosphere is vibrant with lots of community involvement — even if you’re not into running, you’ll find it’s a great time to visit the region for the festivities and soak in the atmosphere alone.


Ocracoke Earthday Weekend Celebration (April)


The Annual Ocracoke Earth Day Weekend Celebration is not just an opportunity to enjoy the unparalleled beauty of Ocracoke Island; it’s a platform to inspire and enact change. As we unite under the banner of environmental protection and sustainable living, this event promises to be a beacon of hope and action for the Ocracoke community and beyond.

The event boasts a rich lineup of activities ranging from nature walks, gardening, and nature crafts to history talks and engaging discussions aimed at understanding and implementing sustainable solutions for our environment.

In true celebration of nature’s wonders, the event also features live music and stargazing sessions, allowing participants to immerse themselves in the artistry of the cosmos and the creativity of humankind.

A community gathering around a beach fire with s’mores at Ocracoke’s lifeguarded beach shall mark the culmination of the weekend. A symbolic act of unity and hope, this closing event is a pledge by the community to safeguard their cherished island and the broader environment.


OVFD Fireman’s Ball, May


Hosted in May by the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department on Ocracoke Island, NC, the OVFD Fireman’s Ball typically features live music from three bands, dancing, a silent auction, and other entertainment activities. The main objective is a fundraiser for the fire department, but one can actually consider it a highlight of the community social calendar.

Yes, it’s a ball, but don’t go expecting gowns and tuxedos; the atmosphere is a lot more laid back. The event starts with a barbecue and includes both a silent auction and a live auction that encourages fun bidding wars.

Following the auctions, live music takes over the space, and dancing goes into the very late hours, with bands mostly cranking out awesome rock ‘n’ roll. The event is a blazing ball of fun — lucky for us, the fire department is close by!



Ocrafolk Festival, June


Presented by Ocracoke Alive and featuring musicians, storytellers, artisans, and other artsy characters of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, and beyond, Ocrafolk Festival is a great weekend event lasting three days.

Wandering through the grounds is a delight. Chances are you’ll find a traditional Ocracoke Island square dance, a giant puppet parade, workshops, and a fabulous artisan village to wander through. There are also activities for kids, like making fish print T-shirts with the catch-of-the-day from the local fish house.

Ocracoke Alive is a non-profit organization committed to enriching the Ocracoke Island community by encouraging and sponsoring cultural, artistic, educational, and environmental activities. The best part? Revenues go to support critical student and community programs. Fun with an important social impact — count us in!



Ocracoke Island Independence Day Celebration, July


Even though a tiny coastal village, Ocracoke goes big with Independence Day celebrations, offering everything you could wish for: fireworks, a parade, and plenty of family-friendly fun.

Every year, the city hosts an amazing fireworks display over the Ocracoke Harbor, providing a comfortable spectacle with plenty of space and seating along the harborfront docks. Still, the fun starts even before the 4th of July. On July 2nd, a pre-fireworks gathering happens at the NPS docks with great music, and the days that follow are also full of festivity. 

On the 4th, there’s a sculpture contest and the much-anticipated parade. After the fireworks are done, the community joins at the beach for a community bonfire. 

Overall, the whole holiday is super fun in Ocracoke, offering a fantastic time to meet locals and celebrate with great patriotic vibes!



Fig Festival, August


This is a festival to celebrate the island’s sweetest traditions — Ocracoke figs! Figs hold a special place in the local community on Ocracoke Island, NC, with a rich history and cultural significance. The island boasts a variety of figs, including the Sugar Fig, Pound Fig, Late Fig, Blue Fig, and Celeste Fig, each with unique flavors and characteristics.

And as you probably guessed, you can try it all at this two-day event and enjoy exhibits and demonstrations. There are porch talks and vendors of all kinds, featuring fig preserves, fig cakes, fig trees, and local cookbooks. What’s more, there are even contests, including fig preserve and fig cake contests, and of course, live music and dancing.

Kids usually love the old-fashioned crafts they find, the games, and all the family fun. You’ll also catch the traditional Ocracoke square dancing happening at some point in the festival.

The festival’s highlight is the Fig Cake Bake-Off, which is open to visitors and islanders alike — you can even submit your own for the “traditional” or “innovative” categories. Are you up for the challenge?





Ocracoke Seafood Festival, August

Speaking of food festivals, Ocracoke’s Seafood Festival is a fantastic celebration that pays tribute to the abundance of the local waters, allowing visitors to indulge in a feast of fish, crabs, shrimp, and lots more.

The main attraction is, of course, the variety of seafood dishes prepared by local vendors, ensuring a true taste of the island’s coastal flavors – a memorable culinary adventure!

This one is also a fundraising event with the goal of supporting the Ocracoke Health Center. You know what that means — you’ll be able to immerse yourself in a delightful culinary experience while supporting a good cause.






Festival Latino de Ocracoke, November


Ocracoke is also home to some vibrant Latino traditions, and since the island is all about community, there’s also a festival for that. The colorful and fun Festival Latino de Ocracoke happens in collaboration with Ocracoke Alive, featuring music, folk dances, incredible food, games, and more.

Wondering about the food? You can indulge in a variety of authentic Mexican and Latin American cuisine, from traditional dishes like tacos, tamales, and empanadas to flavorful salsas and guacamole.

The festival is a real two-day “fiesta” with performances, workshops, live music, and many other traces of cultural diversity and entertainment for people of all ages. Latino festivals are known for their joyful and festive atmosphere, and this one is definitely no different!



Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, November


As the name suggests, the Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree is no common festival. It celebrates Ocracoke’s unique pirate history, offering a weekend of total fun for the whole family.

Among the attractions are the historically accurate pirate encampment and the reenactment of the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s last battle — all of which are very educational for attendees of all ages.

There are also living history exhibits, sea shanties, music shows, and a shopping marketplace with restaurants and souvenir options.

One of the highlights is when pirate and militia crews march to Springer’s Point to honor those killed in Blackbeard’s last battle. There’s even a cannon salute — so better cover your ears!

By the way, you can attend in character. Visitors are encouraged to get in touch with their inner pirate and boast their pirate gear. Great photo ops during an unforgettable visit to Ocracoke, no doubt!

The Best Events in Ocracoke Island, NC

Ocracoke is truly fantastic for its natural beauty and historical sights, but as you can see, there are many other reasons to visit the island, and these events are just a few of them.

Looking for more tips on things to do and see on Ocracoke Island? Head to our destination blog. We’ve written extensively about several topics, from the top sightseeing spots to a guide for equipment rentals and the best breakfast spots on the island. It’s all there, and much more is coming soon!

Extra tip: Stay like a local when visiting Ocracoke Island

If you choose to vacation with Ocracoke Island Realty, you’ll have an unparalleled experience of relaxation and adventure on the stunning shores of Ocracoke Island.

Our local expertise means you’ll have access to insider tips on the best activities, dining, and attractions on Ocracoke Island. Our rental properties are top-notch, equipped with all the amenities and comforts you and your family need for a memorable vacation by the sea.