Attention seafood lovers: Day at the Docks — an annual celebration on Hatteras Island that pays homage to the men and women who fish the waters and feed the masses — is Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15 at Hatteras Village. The event is free and open to the public.

A highlight of the festival is Saturday’s Shrimp and Grits Throwdown, a chance for visiting celebrity inland chefs to strut their stuff — live, in front of a crowd — using local shrimp and stone-ground grits.

The friendly competition will be judged by celebrity chefs, food writers and food gurus who will decide which culinary master made the tastiest offering.

Limited samples of the chefs’ creations will be available to the public.

The event, hosted by the Hatteras Island Civic Association, began as a one-day event to celebrate the indomitable spirit of Hatteras Island residents in the wake of Hurricane Isabel, which made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on Sept. 18, 2003, between Cape Lookout and Ocracoke Island with winds of 105 mph. The event is the brainchild of Hatteras residents Lynne Foster and Susan West.

This year’s celebration features seafood cooking demonstrations, a chowder competition between local restaurants, fishing industry skills demonstrations — such as how to clean fish courtesy of Oden’s Dock — live music, and fun games for children that are designed to provide a glimpse into what it takes to live the life of a commercial fisherman.

Attendees will have the chance to sample cuisine, sip North Carolina wine and craft beer and listen to Outer Banks musicians. In addition, North Carolina producers, cookbook authors, and craft beer and wine makers will take part in the event.

There’s also kids fishing contest, crab races, and commercial and charter boat captains will be scattered along the docks showing their boats and demonstrating their equipment and fishing techniques, such as net fishing and net hanging.

The annual Blessing of the Fleet, which is at Hatteras Harbor Marina, closes out the event. During the ceremony, a wreath will be placed on the water to honor commercial and charter fishermen and other watermen who have “crossed the bar.” The term is taken from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s 1889 poem, “Crossing the Bar,” which speaks of a metaphorical sandbar that represents the barrier between life and death.

For a schedule of events, visit

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