Day at the Docks was simply great!

Published 8:39 pm Saturday, October 1, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Hatteras village waterfront came alive Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 with Day at the Docks.

The celebration of watermen returned after missing four years due to weather and COVID-19.

The weather was perfect. Wind was frisky at first but settled down to a pleasant breeze.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

All ages of people came to this signature event for fisheries.

The event takes place along the Hatteras waterfront where commercial and charter boats put to sound and sea. Exhibitors opened up at 10 a.m. and the festival closed at 4:30 with the fishing contest awards.

The day ended with the Blessing of the Fleet at 6 p.m.

Education Tent

The education tent hummed with early visitors and throughout the day.

At the North Carolina Marine Fisheries table, agency director Kathy Rawls greeted folks.

Long-time Day at the Docks participant Sara Mirabilo, from Sea Grant, explained her research for a shark deterrent. John Griffin and Bill Husged talked about the North Carolina Oyster Trail, something new since the last Day at the Docks.

John Aydlett promotes Got to Be NC Seafood, a campaign from the state’s Department of Agriculture.

North Carolina Coastal Federation was in the tent. The National Park Service was represented.

A line formed for the Community Care Clinic, which offered free screenings and COVID test kits.

Outside locations included NOAA’s Monitor Marine Sanctuary exhibit and the North Carolina Watermen United tent with Mary Ellon Ballance selling t-shirts.

Children at Day at the Docks

This year, 131 children registered to fish in the hour-long Children’s Fishing Contest. It’s a joyous time for most young anglers. Adults and other contestants cheer a big fish or a first fish or even a little fish.

This year was the highest number of young anglers registered to fish at this event.

Jim Lyons started the contest and furnishes the cane poles to which are attached red and white bobbers. Seven women serve as judges measuring fish. Three people served a weigh masters.

Some 20 businesses support the contest that spreads along the waterfront docks.

Trophies, some almost as tall as the winners, and fishing gear are handed out in an awards ceremony.

A really big bounce house was set up just past at Oden’s Dock. The Fessenden Center’s boat building craft attracted young people. T-shirts were adorned with the shape of a real fish, splashed with colorful paint. Sophie Gray helped at the activity and among other duties, washing paint off a flounder.

Seafood Taco Throwdown

Only standing room was available for the afternoon competition between a defending champion Eduardo Chavez from Ocracoke and Lalo Rebollo from Buxton. In a very close point total from three judges, Lalo’s from Buxton won out over Ocracoke.

Mary Ellon Ballance and Jeff Aiken handled the microphones and commentary, while the chefs worked with the secret fish, a sheepshead.

Food and Epicurean delights

Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church served up shrimp or chicken tacos to lots of people. The line was long. Another group served barbecue dinners.

The chowder contest benefitting the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation was held at the village’s civic center. Participants selected the winners: first place, The Wreck; second place went to Breakwater Restaurant; and third place to Pamlico Inn.

Workers from Bill Clough Ford Inc., of Windsor, scooped up delicious ice cream. It’s really good and doesn’t last long. It’s a main attraction at the far end of the docks until the children’s fishing contest starts.

Community Organizations

In the community organizations area, five groups set up booths, including Dare County’s Veterans Advisory Council and VFW group, the Fessenden Center with a clever boat making craft, the Frisco-Buxton Pathway Committee, Radio Hatteras and Hatteras Island Meals, where Marissa Liner, 14, from Avon sold raffle tickets. Every Monday and Friday she rides along with a parent to deliver meals and forms bonds with Hatteras Island Meals clients.

Artists had a big slice of boardwalk for displaying assorted offerings.

Blessing the Fleet

Nineteen boats left the Hatteras breakwater, rendezvoused at a buoy and processed into the waterfront. The Albatross piloted by Capt. Ernie Foster led the way.

The procession usually ends with a U.S. Coast Guard vessel. But for 2022, the Ocracoke Express came through the breakwater last and snuggled up to Oden’s Fuel Dock for the ceremony. Hatteras village’s own Marshall Foster piloted the passenger ferry.

The wreath, later ferried out the breakwater, was delivered by children Hazel and George Scott in a boat piloted by Dan Oden.

The blessing was delivered in song and words by Toni Wood, pastor of Hatteras Charge of the United Methodist Church, which includes Hatteras, Buxton and Frisco churches.

Wood sang “Sheltered in the Arms of God.” She used Matthew 4:19 as her text. Jesus called his first disciples with these words: “Come, follow me,” said Jesus, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

She told a personal story about fishing with a mentor. She said the qualities of patience and skill are needed for fishing and for fishers of men.

The service concluded with remembrance prayer for those watermen who have died in the past year: Tall Bill Van Druten, Andrews Berry, Winkie Silver, Johnny Shields, Johnny Wright, Ronnie Livesay, Reid “Radar” Robinson, Isaac “Ikey” O’Neal, Jr., and Bob Barris.

The sun was setting as the Albatross pulled out of Hatteras Harbor to place the wreath upon the waters in memory of these watermen.