PUMPKINS N HAY N OYSTERS, OH MY!

Ahhhhhhhhhh. Fall has arrived to Brunswick County, NC. Sunny days, cool breezes, open window nights with the sounds of crickets and night birds, glorious sunrises and sunsets, sparkling ocean waters, sandy beaches for walking, family oriented festivals – we have the best of it all. The upcoming weekend promises to be beautiful and is filled with outdoor events for adults and families. What adult among us does not recall the fun of fall hayrides? You can relive them this weekend – and in Boiling Spring Lakes, NC, you can experience a hayride with a twist:  Boiling Spring Lakes Haunted Hayride

Fall and oysters go together like – well – fall and oysters. Add to that a festival and you couldn’t ask for anything better –  especially when it is happening in Ocean Isle Beach, NC and includes an oyster shucking contest and a road race.

North Carolina Oyster Festival

Fall is harvest time at the farms – a time to celebrate another successful harvest. What better way than to have a day filled with pumpkins, hayrides, good food and fun events for kids and adults alike. One such working farm near Calabash, NC, invites you to take part in just such a day:  Indigo Farms Pumpkin Day

BRUNSWICK CATCH

The local fishermen in Brunswick County, NC have been harvesting top quality seafood like shrimp, grouper, flounder, oysters, blue crabs, clams and more going back two and three generations. Their livelihood is being threatened by a number of factors not the least of which is imported seafood. Brunswick Catch was formed by a group of commercial fishermen, restaurant owners and seafood dealers with the assistance of  the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission, county commissioners, NC Sea Grant and Carteret Catch, to sustain this heritage.

When you are eating out or purchasing seafood, look for the Brunswick Catch logo on a flag and/or a sign outside the restaurant or store to be assured of receiving top quality local seafood. All members of the group display this logo. You will be getting the tastiest meal while helping local fisherman continue their tradition. For your convenience, You will find a few member restaurants listed below:  

Fishy Fishy Cafe in Southport, NC (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/restaurant/southport/fishy-fishy-cafe/profile/)

The Bald Head Island Club (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/restaurant/bald-head-island/the-bald-head-island-club/profile/)

Inlet View Bar & Grill in Shallotte, NC (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/restaurant/shallotte/inlet-view-bar-and-grill/profile/)

For a list of seafood retailers and more restaurants, go to: http://www.brunswickcatch.com.

“Now if you’re ready Oysters dear, we can begin to feed.”

I’m sure that the oysters you will find at the 33rd Annual NC Oyster Festival on the island of Ocean Isle Beach did not voluntarily walk out of the sea like they did for the Walrus and the Carpenter in Lewis Carol’s “Through the Looking Glass” – but isn’t it fun to imagine that they did? 

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This year’s festival, held on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, is a great way to spend beautiful Fall days with your family. There will be music in the air both days starting at 10 AM featuring the following bands: Sawgrass, The Entertainers, Jaded Mayberry, The Lost Trailers, New Beginnings Praise Band, Sea Cruz and Craig Woolard Band. You can chow down on oysters and fried fish served by the Shriners or partake of a plethora of other foods and drinks that you will find in the festival area between Second and Third Streets. Be sure to leave enough room to participate in the Oyster Stew Cook-off and vote for your favorite stew. 

A favorite event at this festival is the Oyster Shucking Contest. Amateur and professional oyster shuckers take part in this event free of charge, The professionals, however, are participating in the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championships and vying for the title of North Carolina Oyster Shucking Champion and a trip to the National Oyster Shucking Championship in Maryland. The winners in Maryland will go on to compete in the World Oyster Shucking Championships in Galway, Ireland.

The kids will enjoy the rides, Super Fun Slide, inflatables, face painting, airbrush tattoos and treats like ice cream and kettle corn. Arts and crafts booths will include handmade jewelry, woodcraft, painted glassware, Christmas ornaments, natural soaps, handcrafted clothing items and other items by local artists. 

Parking on the island is limited but you can catch a free shuttle from the corner of Highway 179 and Causeway Drive or from the Ocean Isle Beach Airport. There is a fee of $5 (payable at the event) for adults and children over eight years of age. Please leave your family pets at home – only service dogs are allowed on the festival grounds.