N.C. Seafood Festival to start Friday in Morehead City

If it swims in the salt water, crawls across the sea floor or just lives in the mud only to be seen when the tide goes out, chances are you may find it on a plate this weekend at the 30th annual North Carolina Seafood Festival.

The festival begins Friday at noon and runs through Sunday evening at the Morehead City waterfront. Tens of thousands of people routinely attend the event.

The goal of the festival is to promote the commercial fishing industry in North Carolina and raise money for local Carteret County charities at the same time. Since 1987, $1.8 million has been donated to various Carteret County non-profit groups.

Seafood restaurants from across the area will have demonstrations Saturday and Sunday at the corner of 4th and Evans Street at the Cooking With the Chefs Tent.

Free entertainment will include the Chairmen of the Board, Six Pack of Gentlemen, Bryan Mayer, Tobacco Roses and many other groups.

On Friday, festivities are from noon to 11 p.m. with rides opening at 2 p.m. Friday events include the Southern Outer Banks Boat Show from noon to 5 p.m. Demonstrations will be held each hour at the Challenge Butter Caye. The Coastal Stage opens at 3 p.m. The Flounder Fling is from 4 to 7 p.m. The Shuck Rattle and Roll event sponsored by the Carteret Community College Aquaculture Program and Culinary School will be from 6 to 10 p.m. SesSea’s Stage opens at 6:30 p.m. The Uncle Kracker concert at the Agri Supply Main Stage begins at 7:30 p.m., with tickets costing $26.

Saturday festivities are from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. with vendors and rides opening at 11 a.m. Events start with the Twin Bridges 8K Road Race at 8 a.m. The Pier Fishing Tournament is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vendors open at 10 a.m., and there will be plenty of coastal crafts and artwork available, as well as entertainment throughout the day. The Flounder Fling is from noon to 5 p.m. with Miss North Carolina throwing the first fish at noon. Michael Ray’s concert at the Agri Supply Main Stage opens at 6 p.m. and admission is $26. Fireworks cap the evening at 9 p.m.

Sunday events run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with vendors and rides opening at 11 a.m. The Pier Fishing Tournament kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Blessing of the Fleet at 10 a.m. at the State Port. The Food Lion Cooking Challenge begins at 11 a.m. at the Cooking with the Chefs Tent. Stages open at noon with entertainment. The sailing regatta begins at noon with the launch site at 10th Street on the waterfront. Activities continue throughout the day until the festival closes at 5 p.m.

There is no admission to the festival grounds. Parking is free at the nearby State Port at 113 Arendell St. in Morehead City with free shuttle buses available from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Those attending should not park on side streets near the festival as vehicles may be towed. Handicap parking is available on the north side of Arendell Street between 7th and 8th Street, and on the south side of Arendell between 8th and 9th Street, as well as Front Street Village, where there is a shuttle to bring visitors to the venue.

Visitors are asked to leave their pets at home. Also prohibited are

Skateboards, bikes, scooters, rollerblades, motorcycles or motor bikes, and pets are prohibited inside the festival area.

For more information or to purchase concert tickets, go online to ncseafoodfestival.org.