August 1, 2014
At the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association (OCBA) meeting on July 16, tourism director Sundae Horn briefed everyone on the impact of Hurricane Arthur on the island’s July Fourth activities–all canceled except for the flag-raising at the school on July 5. Horn was in favor of still having the fig cake competition to be held the Community Square in mid-August. Out of that a lively discussion ensued. Why stop there? Let’s see if the island’s pizza makers would make available a special fig/goat cheese pizza by the slice. Islanders could sell their preserves and saplings. Restaurants could offer special fig dishes that week. Within a short period of time, the Ocracoke Fig Festival started to sprout.
Ocracoke and fig trees have a long history. About 14 types of figs are grown on the island and many islanders have one or more trees in their yards and make preserves. Ocracokers often socialize by having potluck get-togethers, when we bring a dish to share. Seeing a fig cake on the dessert table is always a plus.
Having a Fig Festival village wide that would include music, square dancing, and, of course the Fig-cake Bake-off could greatly benefit the Ocracoke economy and, even more importantly, be a lot of fun.
With proper publicity, it has the potential of drawing a lot of visitors to the island, many perhaps for the first time. While this year, the celebration will be mid-August, when the livin’ is easy, fish are jumpin’ and the figs are ripe, in the future perhaps this event could occur a bit later when the post-summer season could use a boost.
Let’s go for it. Food festivals are very popular nationwide and in time this could be a must-do on many people’s calendars.