Figs ripening on the island. Photo by C. Leinbach
Figs ripening on the island. Photo by C. Leinbach

The Ocracoke community will celebrate the summer’s fig bounty with a fig cake bake-off, live music, dancing and UNC-TV personality Bob Garner as celebrity fig-cake judge.

The second annual Fig Festival in the historic Community Square, 309 Irvin Garrish Hwy., will feature vendor booths offering fresh figs, fig preserves, local cookbooks and other fig-tastic items. For kids, there’ll be face painting and crafts. Local fig expert Chester Lynn will give an informative talk about Ocracoke’s fig history and culture, and North Carolina food connoisseur Bob Garner will sign copies of his book, Foods That Make You Say Mmm-mmm, about the “traditions, venues, and recipes of North Carolina’s most famous tastes,” including Ocracoke fig cake.

The showpiece of the Fig Festival is the Fig Cake Bake-Off. Everyone is welcome to submit a cake in one or both categories, Traditional or Innovative.

“The traditional category is for the Old Ocracoke style recipe,” said the Bake-Off’s founder, Robin Payne. “This way we stay true to the purpose of the Bake-Off, which is honoring Ocracoke culture and a much-loved dessert. Innovative is just that. Anything goes as long as it has figs in it.”

Bob Garner
UNC-TV personality Bob Garner will attend the Fig Fest and be a celebrity judge for the Fig Cake Bake-off. Daphne Bennink also will interview him on WOVV. Time TBD.

The two panels of judges (including Bob Garner) will choose their favorites based on measures of taste, texture and figgy-ness. Ocracoke restaurateur Daphne Bennink will host onsite with a live broadcast on WOVV 90.1 FM (listen online at The Bake-Off winners take home a yard sign, a keepsake plaque and a year’s worth of bragging rights. Free samples will be available for everyone after the contest. 

Bring your dancing shoes (or bare feet in true Ocracoke-style) for the evening’s fun. The traditional Ocracoke square dance, where you can learn how to “Dive for the Oyster” and “Dig for the Clam,” is easy to learn and fun for all ages.  For the finale, the Ocracoke Rockers will take the stage to play classic rock-n-roll.

During the week of the Fig Festival, island restaurants will offer fig-infused specials both savory and sweet.

The Ocracoke Fig Festival is sponsored by Ocracoke Civic and Business Association.

A schedule of events and a sample fig cake recipe can be found at

Ocracoke Fig Preserves are available at these establishments:

Albert Styron’s Store

Corkey’s Store

Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum

Ocracoke Restoration Company

Ocracoke Seafood Company

Ocracoke Variety Store

Pony Island Restaurant

Roxy’s Antiques

Village Craftsmen

Woccocan Gifts

Zillie’s Island Pantry

Enjoy delicious fig-infused delicacies (both savory and sweet) at these island eateries:

Back Porch Restaurant (Figgy Gin Fizz cocktail, Fig cake, Fig and Prosciutto appetizer)

Dajio Restaurant (Fig cake)

Fig Tree Deli/Sweet Tooth (Fig cake and Fig bars)

Flying Melon Cafe (Lamb rack with Fig and Balsamic reduction, Figs Foster)

Ocracoke Coffee Company (Fig muffins and scones)

Ocracoke Oyster Company (Fig-smoked BBQ)

Pony Island Restaurant (Fig muffins)

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