Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas Time's A'comin'!

Christmas with the Opry at Deepwater Theater

The island has been buzzing with Christmas activity this week. Tuesday night, the Ocracoke Library held a Christmas Cookie swap, on Thursday the Ocracoke School gave a student Christmas show (organized by Miss Kitty), and Friday night the Youth Center sponsored a Flat Cat Christmas performance and the village held its annual Christmas light competition. Saturday evening the fun continued with the “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at the Ocracoke Assembly of God Church. Sunday hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m sure more music, fun and friendly gatherings are on tap! Here are some other events that have happened over the past two weeks.

On Island
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Ocrafolk Festival Wrapup Meeting
On Wednesday, December 7, the Ocrafolk Festival held a year-end wrapup at the Ocracoke Community Center. The meeting was spent reviewing the 2005 festival and brainstorming new activities for the following year’s celebration. New events and changes for the 2006 festival include a bicycle design competition, a clam chowder and fig cake cookoff. waiter competitions, and the moving of the Ocrafolk Festival Live Auction from Sunday afternoon to Friday evening. To keep informed about Ocrafolk Festival events, visit their website at

OPS Wassail Party and Deepwater Christmas Show
Friday, December 9th, the Ocracoke Preservations Society hosted its annual Wassail Party and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Afterwards, Molasses Creek and the Ocrafolk Opry gave a Christmas Fundraising Concert for OPS at Deepwater Theater. Performers included Molasses Creek, Coyote, Capt. Rob and Sundae, Noah Paley, Cheryl Roberts and Jamie Tunnell, Cynthia Mitchell, Pat Garber, Katy Wharton, Roy Parsons, and John Golden. The show raised about $400 for the museum.

Off Island
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Harker’s Island Decoy Fest

Coyote (Marcy Brenner and Lou Castro)

On Friday, December 2, Fiddler Dave & Gary, Gerald Hampton and Marcy and Lou of Coyote traveled to the Decoy Festival at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum on Harker’s Island. They performed an evening fundraiser and then were joined on Saturday by a host of musicians and performers from Ocracoke and the mainland. Jule Garrish, Kitty Mitchell, and Aaron Caswell traveled over from Ocracoke, and Rodney Kemp, Ann Haley, and the Green Grass Cloggers met them on the far side for a full day of performances on Saturday.

The festival honors traditional down east waterfowl culture of North Carolina. If you haven’t visited the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, you should make the trip! The spacious halls of the newly constructed building house fascinating exhibits that range from decoy carving, to wildlife painting, photography, fishing, and hunting. For more information visit

Ann Haley and Gerald Hampton

Opry at Elizabeth City, NC
Having warmed up the previous evening at Deepwater Theater, Molasses Creek and the Ocrafolk Opry went on the road for a December 10th Christmas concert in Elizabeth City at the College of the Albemarle. The show featured many of the off island festival friends, including storyteller Rodney Kemp, Noah Paley, Cynthia Mitchell, Gerald Hampton, John Golden, and Bob Zentz. Over 200 folks came out for the show to celebrate the holiday season. The evening rounded out with a humorous Harker’s Island “Night Before Christmas” by Rodney Kemp, and the whole cast joining Bob Zentz on his original song “The End of Another Year.”

Benefit concert for the Turnage Theater, Washington, NC
Fiddler Dave and Gary of Molasses Creek and Lou Castro of Coyote, joined a fundraising concert on December 11th at Beaufort Community College to benefit the Turnage Theater in downtown little Washington. Professor of creative writing and contributing writer to Our State Magazine, Bryan Oestereich, organized the event which featured his original two act play, “"Live, From Washington, It's Saturday Night - On Sunday!." Local favorite bluegrass band, Carolina Still opened the show and the island boys finished it out.

The Turnage Theater in Washington actually contains two theaters, one a vaudeville theater that last saw the likes of Red Skelton and Roy Rodgers and Trigger. Work is just beginning to restore the Turnage to the 1930s structure. For more information on this project visit their website at

Here are some upcoming events!

December 31 -- First Night Raleigh, Raleigh, NC, (5:00 Childrens Show), 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM Family Shows at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Auditorium. Keep posted for updates at

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