The Ocracoke Rockers, above, will play at a benefit dance, 8 to 11 p.m., and Clam Chowder Cook-Off 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4, in the Community Center.

In what organizers hope to be an annual event to benefit Ocracoke Child Care, a Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Dance will be held April 4 in the Community Center, 99 Irvin Garrish Highway.

The cook-off will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the dance will be from 7 to 11 p.m., featuring the Ocracoke Rockers.

All–individuals, businesses, restaurants and professional chefs–are invited to create their best version of “traditional” Ocracoke Clam Chowder and/or non-traditional.

Traditional means the only ingredients allowed are clams and their juice, water, potatoes, onions, salt pork or bacon, salt and pepper. Pepper vinegar and hot sauce may be used as condiments.

“The inclusion of any other ingredients is considered non-traditional,” said Ruth Toth, who is organizing the cook-off.

Attendees will vote for the best chowder in both categories and the top vote-getters in each category will be awarded a Golden Clam Trophy, each uniquely fashioned by island artist Susan Dodd.

There is a $25  fee for each chowder entry, and an admission fee of $10 per person will be charged for one taste of each chowder and to vote for the people’s choice award.  Hot dogs and bake sale items will be available for purchase as well.

Details of the two events are on flyers circulated throughout the island and at the Center. A community donation appeal letter also has gone out in the mail.

The Center also is looking for housing summer and long-term housing for new and summer staff. Those who have accommodations are asked to contact Chaeli Moyer, OCC director, at admin@ocracokechildcare.org, or call 252-928-4131.

The Center reopens for business today (March 2). An open house for the public to visit the center, see the new renovations, ask questions and meet the new teacher Patricia Sanchez, who is bilingual and who moved over the weekend to Ocracoke from Malibu, CA.

When school is out, the Center plans to extend its childcare offerings to older children and to stay open on evenings and weekends to accommodate the island’s summer workforce as well as visitors or island parents who might like a date night without their children.

The OCC has raised its rates and no longer is providing snacks or lunch.

Islanders visit the Ocracoke Child Care Center during their open house yesterday (Sunday).
Patricia Sanchez, from Malibu, Calif. is a new teacher at Ocracoke Child Care Center.
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