Ocracoke’s volunteer firefighters. Trainer Bryan Lilley from the Washington (N.C.) Department of Fire-Rescue-EMS, center back in shades and no hat.

Donations to support the OVFD can be mailed to OFPA P.O. Box 332  Ocracoke, NC 27960

To read about last year’s ball, click here

This event’s roots derive from a party many years ago. Dusty Baker and David Finch of the Dune Dogs band and Larry and Stephanie Ihle, had so much fun, they decided to do it again and add some community good as a fundraiser for the OVFD. It is now the annual Firemen’s Ball and takes place on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend each year to support the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department building fund.

Even though the new building has been completed, the OVFD needs financial help more than ever. The OVFD’s main source of funding for operating expenses is from fundraising efforts, and the Firemen’s Ball is the largest event of the year for this need. Last year it raised over $73,000.

In 2017, Ocracoke experienced two house fires, one of which was behind the Variety Store on a day with extremely gusty winds.  It could have easily been catastrophic had the fire department not arrived so quickly. The most recent fire was in November when the Pirates Chest caught fire.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in either of these fires, which were quickly contained, thanks to the training of our volunteers.  Their access to training and up-to-date equipment is crucial for Ocracoke and that’s why this fundraiser is so important.

The ball is an all-volunteer event organized by Larry and Stephanie Ihle. Across the board, everything is donated, from food to auction items to entertainment.  That means that every dollar raised will go directly to the OVFD.

“Stephanie O’Neal also has stepped up in a big way to help this year,” said Stephanie Ihle, who, with Larry, run Coastal Helicopters.

In addition to a custom-made quilt by islander Susan Dodd, among the auction items this year will be two old signs, one from Zillie’s  and the old sign from the Ocracoke Bar & Grill, both of whom are replacing their signs and have donated them to the auction, said Stephanie Ihle. 

Artwork, plane rides, fishing gear, a lot of off-shore and in-shore fishing trips and various other items also will be auctioned. 

Will Roberson or Raleigh, who brings the huge, portable Grill-Zilla, provides the barbecue dinner.

And yes, the Dune Dogs will be back. 

Schedule for the Firemen’s Ball May 26:
4 to 6:30 p.m. Silent Auction
5 to 6:30   Pig Pickin’ (or until food runs out, which it always does).
       Plates are $15; include a drink.  Inside, donations accepted for cold beer generously donated by City Beverage Co. and
Fortnight Brewery and Pub.
7 p.m. Live Auction
8:30 p.m. Live music by The Dune Dogs plus Raygun Ruby

For details and sponsor opportunities, visit the OVFD online and click on the Firemen’s Ball tab here.

Philip Howard is the auctioneer for the live auction at this year’s Firemen’s Ball the evening of May 26 in the Community Center. Photo: C. Leinbach
Grill Zilla is getting fired up for this year’s Firemen’s Ball Saturday from 5 p.m.. to midnight. All are invited to this fundraiser for the OVFD
Ocracoke’s firefighters helping with last year’s Firemen’s Ball.
Water supply training creates a rainbow. Photo: P. Vankevich
April 6, 2017 fire. Photo by John Ferrera
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