Will Roberson tends the Grill-Zilla. Photo by C. Leinbach


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The annual Firemen’s Ball Saturday (May 23) in the Ocracoke Community Center will kick off of Memorial Day weekend.

This popular event will begin at 5 p.m. with a pig pickin’ followed by a silent and a live auction, finishing off with live music by The Ocracoke Rockers, The Aaron Caswell Band and The Dune Dogs.

The ball is the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department’s (OVFD) main source of funding for its many operating expenses such as mortgage, insurance, equipment and utilities, according to Dick Jacoby, the president of the adjunct Ocracoke Fire Protection Association.  Since the OVFD has no guaranteed source of income support (such as a fire tax), this fund-raiser is crucial to the company’s operation.    OVFD logo

Although there are few fires on the island, there was one Dec. 27 of a large camper-trailer in the early morning, and, due to the OVFD’S quick response, it saved a neighboring house from burning. Click here for the story.

Organized by Larry and Stephanie Ihle, Larry noted that the day will begin with a remembrance of one of the key players Russell “R.B.” Berry of Raleigh, who died unexpectedly earlier this year.

“He was the head chef that cooked the famous barbeque,” Larry said. “He was a huge part of this event.  RB was a high school friend of David Finch, the Dune Dogs lead singer.”

Will Roberson, Berry’s partner in cooking the barbeque, will keep the food coming with the huge, portable Grill-Zilla, Ihle said.

Fire Department volunteers planted a live oak in RB’s honor at the new fire building and will have a dedication of it at 9:15 Saturday morning.

Ten years ago, the Ihles and the Dune Dogs were on the beach when they came up with the idea of a dance.

“It started out as a good excuse to hear some music and cook food,” he said with a laugh. “We were on the beach and came up with the idea to throw a party. Then we decided we should do it for a cause and named the fire company.”

Any wishing to sponsor this event, can contact Larry or Stephanie, 252-928-8074. Stephanie’s cell is 928-7001.

Firemen’s Ball Schedule of events:

5:00 – 6:30 Barbeque dinners served  – $12.00 each
5:00 – 6:30  Silent auction and Firemen’s Ball t-shirts for sale
7:00   Live Auction (by Philip Howard)
8:30 -Midnight  Music and Dancing






Silent auction 4 to 6:30

Live auction at 7 


For further details, click here.


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    • Thanks FInley. I do my best to bring the best Eastern NC style BBQ to the island ya’ll ever had. Already making plans for next year!

      William R Roberson

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