Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A New Year Begins

The Christmas Tree at the Oeracoke Methodist Church

*** Thanks to all who entered in our holiday blog Cd drawings. Congratulations to Toni Boatwright of Athens, GA, our final winner. ***

The Christmas Season has come and gone. All that remains of the holiday on Ocracoke are a few Christmas lights and the smell of chipped evergreens wafting from the dump next to the post office. Winter has arrived. . .just locals here now for a while. The temperature has been warm up to yesterday when it moved from the 70s to down to the 50s during the day. Today is a little chillier and gives me a good excuse to cook up the ham bone from Christmas and make some soup.

Amy Howard presents her father with an Ocracoke Cracker Quilt for Christmas (almost finished too!)

Winter projects! Aha! We can finally attend to them in all their glory! I uncover the long list that I compiled over the summer and sigh. Chasing all our best intentions is the desire to relax, travel, or drop that list and let life drift a bit! The dolphins at the beach today looped around a fine catch of fish and I joined them in spirit.

Amy, Lachlan, and I have a major project in February. We are moving to Lawton’s house next to the Village Craftsmen and selling our house on the Back Road. I like to tell folks that the drive to Grandpa’s (Philip Howard) was just too far and we needed to move 100 yards closer. I also joke that we wanted to move into a new school district and have less of a commute to my work at Deepwater Theater. Instead of a 30 second bike ride, I will now have only 15 seconds.

Lawton Howard is Philip’s father and therefore my wife’s grandfather. He had such a wonderful and mischevious nature. Quite a character and always ready to play a practical joke on an unsuspecting tourist or friend (who expected it). If you have made it out to hear Philip tell tales at the Ocrafolk Opry then I’m sure you have heard a story that involved his father and some bit of cleverness. His small white house sits on the corner of Howard Street and Lawton Lane (talk about a coincidence). Every since I came to Ocracoke in 1993, I have felt drawn to Howard Street. I find it a dream come true to actually be living right on it! Hey, the Ocrafolk Festival Howard Street Stage will be right out our door!

. . . Fiddler Dave

On Ocracoke Island
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Benefit for the Ocracoke Waterman’s Association a Great Success

On December 30th the Ocracoke Waterman’s Association held a benefit oyster/shrimp steaming with music by Molasses Creek.

For $15 folks could eat all the seafood they could manage while listening to some lively entertainment right from the steps of the Fish House.

In the evening, storyteller Donald Davis gave a benefit concert at the Ocracoke Community Center to a sold out crowd. The day raised over $4000 towards the Ocracoke Waterman’s Association in their quest to secure the last fish house on Ocracoke Island.

The Ocracoke Working Waterman’s Association has signed a 12-month lease on the fish house and has until May 1, 2007, to raise the $409,000 it needs to purchase it. Along with operating the fish house, the organization sees the effort as a way to give local watermen a secure base of operations and be a retail source of locally caught seafood. The fishermen also see the fish house as place for educating people about commercial fishing and for showing them hands-on the skills of their livelihood.

Classes Begin in New School Building
When Ocracoke School started up after Christmas, two new exciting changes were in place. First of all, the elementary portion of the school begins 2007 in the brand new Ocracoke wing. The eight state of the art classrooms in the addition by the playground house all of the younger grades. Second, a new pre-kindergarden program begins at the end of January. Congratulations!

Gospel Sing at Methodist Church
The Ocracoke Methodist Church is beginning a gospel sing which will be the second Saturday every month. Come on out! The church will provide an organ, piano, and a music stand with a light.

Heritage Classes Starting Soon
The Ocracoke Arts Council will begin it’s annual Heritage Class on Saturday, January 20. As a group they will guide participants through the history of the pattern, selecting & cutting fabric, sewing, basting & topstitching, then putting it all together to make your very own Ocracoke Cracker Quilt pattern throw pillow. The class will continue over the next four Saturdays. Call Marcy Brenner for details at 252-928-9975.

The Ocracoke Needle and Thread Club normally meets weekly on Monday nights at 7:00 PM at Deepwater Theater on School Road.

Grenade Causes a Bit of a Stir

Activity at house on the corner of Back Road and Fire House Road elicited much chatter a few weeks ago as workers renovating the structure found a pineapple grenade in the attic. The “souvenier” dated from the 50s and was reported to be one of the less stable types of hand grenades. Island police immediately cordoned off the area and evacuated several houses and then contacted the Marine Corps in Cherry Point who sent a specialized group to Ocracoke to examine the artifact. The team determined that the weapon was not live and it was sent back to Cherry Point for safe keeping.

Singer Songwriter Michael Stanwood Comes to Ocracoke

Ocrafolk friend and musician Michael Stanwood has travelled out from Denver, Colorado to work with the Ocracoke After School Program this week and give a Friday night concert at Deepwater Theater. Stanwood is a five-time winner of Westword's Best of Denver for everything from his recordings to his performances. He has composed scores for dance, theater and film as well as for three critically acclaimed recordings. He has toured throughout Southeast Asia as a musical goodwill ambassador for the U.S. Information Service. He now plays a variety of ethnic instruments like the didjeridu, the Thai khaen, and the mbira, as well as the guitar. A finalist in the 1981 International Autoharp Competition, Stanwood is recognized as "one of the finest autoharp players in America today," and he has played that instrument with orchestras as well as solo. His also leads the highly acclaimed Buzz Band, a group of nine musicians who play ethnic instruments. Find out more about him at

Off Ocracoke Island
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CoastalFolk Concert Set for Wilmington, NC

On January 20 at 8:00 PM Molasses Creek will perform along with other guests at a CoastalFolk Concert at Kenan Ausitorium on the campus of UNCW. Joining the Ocracoke crew are John Golden, Anne Haley, Mark Teachey, and Catesby Jones. Tickets may be purchased at the Kenan Auditorium Box Office by calling 910-962-3500. Hope to see you there!

January 20, 2007 – Molasses Creek & CoastalFolk performance with John Golden, Anne Haley, Mark Teachey, & Catesby Jones at Kenan Auditorium on the campus of UNCW in Wilmington, NC. Call 910-962-3500 for tickets.
March 3 -- Music Across the Sound, Mattamaskeet High School, Swan Quarter, NC. Details TBA
March 17
-- Concert with Music on the Delaware, Walton Theater,Walton, NY. For more details contact Jim Richardson
April 22
-- Concert at the Alden Theater, McLean, VA. 8:00 PM.

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