Ocracoke figs and the island's famous lighthouse. Photo by Trudy Austin
Ocracoke figs and the island’s famous lighthouse. Photo by Trudy Austin

The 4th annual Ocracoke Fig Festival kicks off Friday evening with a gathering at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum, 49 Water Plant Rd., and continues all day Saturday with vendor booths, live music “fig-tastic” activities in the historic Community Square.

Friday’s events at OPS include a traditional Ocracoke Square Dance, live music by Molasses Creek, an introduction to Ocracoke figs and fig culture with local expert Chester Lynn, and the sweet and delicious Fig Preserves Tasting Contest.

Tickets for tasting and voting are for $3. All homemade fig preserves are eligible for entry.

New for 2017 are two ways to win a piece of the Ocracoke Fig Festival.

This year’s event artwork is an original 18” x 24” painting by local artist Mark Brown of a fig cake in the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Exhibit.  Enter the raffle for a chance to take home this beautiful piece of Ocracoke art.  See the art below on the festival poster.

 The festival will raffle a gift basket of fig preserves and other fig items available at the festival. Raffle tickets are $2 each or three for $5.

Also new this year, the festival will choose two judges from the crowd for the first time this year to judge the cakes in the showpiece of the Fig Festival–the Fig Cake Bake-Off.

To enter your name, just stop by the Info Booth. The drawing will be at 3:30 p.m. and you must be present to win your place at the judges’ table.

Everyone is welcome to submit a cake in one or both categories–Traditional or Innovative.

“Traditional” means adhering to the old Ocracoke recipe of fig preserves, eggs, flour, sweetener, spices. Island-made fig preserves can be purchased all over the island. For “Innovative,” anything goes as long as figs are included.

Uncut cakes for the contest must be brought to Community Square between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

Two panels of judges will choose their favorites based on measures of cake presentation, taste, and figgy-ness, and award a first place and runner-up in each category.

Ocracoke restaurateur Daphne Bennink will host onsite with a live broadcast on WOVV 90.1 FM (listen online at wovv.org). After the judging, all may sample all of the fig cakes.

In the evening, the Ocracoke Rockers take the stage to play classic dance music and rock-n-roll in Community Square.

Figs were introduced to the island more than 200 years ago. Now, there are at least nine types of figs grown on the island.

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

Look for savory and sweet fig-infused recipes at island restaurants.

Fig Festival Schedule of Events

Friday, Aug. 18, 6 to 8 p.m.
Ocracoke Preservation Society, 49 Water Plant Rd.
6 to 8 p.m. Fig Preserves Tasting Contest in back yard (Enter your own preserves if you wish; purchase a $3 tasting ticket; vote for your favorite!) Free Fig cake samples; drinks available to purchase and local fig items for sale.
6 to 6:30 p.m. Music with Molasses Creek
6:30 to 7 p.m. “Ocracoke Figs” Porch Talk with local fig expert Chester Lynn
7 to 8 p.m. Traditional Ocracoke Square Dance with Molasses Creek and caller Desiree Ricker

Saturday, Aug. 19, 1o a.m. to 11 p.m.
Community Square
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Submit your Fig Cake Bake-Off entries
10 a.m. to 4  p.m. Shop local with local vendors selling fig-tastic wares (preserves, art, trees, photos, BBQ, gift items, crafts, tea, T-shirts and more). Free activities for children
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Live music with local performers: (10 a.m., Kim France; 11 a.m., Kate McNally; noon, Ocracoke’s young musicians, dancers and singers; 1 p.m., Coyote)
2 p.m. Learn about Ocracoke figs with local expert Chester Lynn
3 p.m. Fig cakes on display
3 p.m. Fig cake baking workshop with Lauren Strohl
3:30 p.m.: Drawing for Fig Cake Bake-Off guest judge
4 p.m. Fig cakes on display.
Cake Bake-Off judging hosted by Daphne Bennink and broadcast live on WOVV 90.1 FM
5 p.m. Free fig cake samples for all
7 p.m. Awards for best fig cake
7 to 11 p.m. Dance party in Community Square with Ocracoke Rockers

Sundae Horn makes sure traditional and innovative fig cakes are ready for the judges to sample at last year’s Fig Cake Bake-Off. Photo: C. Leinbach

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