The year 2020 is in the bag and many have been looking forward to 2021.

Ocracoke was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as was the rest of the world. Just as the island was beginning to climb out of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian and open up for spring visitors, the pandemic shut down the state.

The island was quiet until mid-May when visitors were again allowed back. Businesses adapted to the new rules of social distancing and mask-wearing.

And although since then the island has seen a crush of visitors through Thanksgiving weekend, typical island events were canceled due to pandemic restrictions.

Among those canceled events are the Ocracoke Invitational Fishing Tournament, the Waterfowl Festival, the OVFD Firemen’s Ball, the Ocrafolk Festival, WOVV Women’s Arm Wrestling, July 4 activities, Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, the Latino Festival and the Oyster Roast. They and we hope many of these events will return this year and will update our Events page as needed.

Nevertheless, Ocracoke carried on in a quieter mode, and we bring you a look back at some of the highlights in photos.

In January 2019, Pat Garber helps rescue sea turtles stunned by cold water. Photo: P. Vankevich

After Hurricane Dorian damage in September 2019, many homes have been or are being raised, and businesses continued to rebuild. Photo: C. Leinbach
Some homes are being rebuilt courtesy of faith-based volunteer groups. Photo: C. Leinbach
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the state to allow restricted entry to some places, such as Ocracoke. Photo: C. Leinbach
Local businesses, such as the Fish House required customers to mask up before entering. Manager Pattie Plyler awaits customers. Photo: C. Leinbach
Many visitors took advantage of Ocracoke’s vast beaches this summer and fall to socially distance outside. Photo: C. Leinbach
The Ocracoke Fig Festival was held virtually, though souvenirs were sold on the OPS porch. Photo: C. Leinbach
The threat of Hurricane Isaias in August conjured up an unusual name for Ocracoke that begat a flurry of local stickers and T-shirts. Fortunately, Isaias tracked west of the island and Ocracoke was spared.
But Hurricane Teddy in September, though well off to the east in the ocean, brought heavy surf and ocean overwash on spots on N.C. 12. About 20 Ocracoke visitors, including a couple on their honeymoon, were stranded for three days in the Hatteras Ferry terminal parking lot before getting a special ride to the island.
Plein air artists, organized by Joanne Geisel, above, returned to Ocracoke in October and spent a week painting. Photo: C. Leinbach
The Village Thrift shop liquidated all of their merchandise and closed. It’s undetermined if and where they will reopen. Photo: C. Leinbach
After a year of rebuilding, DAJIO reopened on Sept. 3, three days before the anniversary of Hurricane Dorian.
The Ocracoke Interfaith Relief & Recovery Team held a socially distanced fundraising concert at the Berkley Barn in September. Photo: C. Leinbach
The old parts of Ocracoke School were torn down to make way for a new, raised building. Photo: C. Leinbach
The Scallywag 5K/10K/half-marathon was rescheduled to November and then held virtually, although some runners did the course in person and socially distanced. Photo: C. Leinbach
The Holiday Boat Parade on Thanksgiving Friday was a hit. Photo by Helena Stevens
Outgoing Ocracoke county commissioner Tom Pahl, left, and incoming commissioner Randal Mathews, right, pledge a peaceful transition of power.
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