The Brant Godfrey visitor group ‘E. Pluribus Unum’ wins Best in Show in the 2019 parade. Photo: C. Leinbach

Staff report

As Ocracoke, like the rest of the world, rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Independence Day celebration is on but will be scaled back.

Some traditional events have been eliminated because of COVID-19 or other concerns.

The following is the schedule:
Saturday, July 3

Island-wide scavenger hunt from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sign up for this event at the Books to Be Red stage on July 3 starting at 10:45 a.m..

At 8 p.m. Ocracoke Island deejay Tommy Hutcherson will spin dance tunes and patriotic songs at the NPS docks for the pre-fireworks gathering

At 9:15 p.m., a spectacular fireworks show will be launched from the large National Park Service parking area (closed for the fireworks) at the southern end of the island. Hyde County sponsors the show in conjunction with the Ocracoke Civic & Business Association and the National Park Service.  Spectators are encouraged to arrive early and gather anywhere around the harbor for awesome waterside viewing.

Sunday, July 4:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Noon: 41st Annual Sand Sculpture Contest at the NPS Lifeguard Beach, with cash prizes. To receive an entry form, email:
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Ocracoke Lighthouse open. All are welcome to see inside and talk to Chester Lynn, one of our island’s historians; no climbing. NPS rangers will also be on hand.
  • 4 p.m.: Old Time Independence Day Parade, featuring a procession of floats, walkers, decorated golf carts and bicycles. Theme: The Roaring 20s: Then & Now
    All are welcome to enter the parade to vie for cash prizes. To receive an entry form, email:, or sign up starting at 3 p.m. at Wheelie Fun Golf Carts. Parade starts at Wheelie Fun Golf Carts, goes down Irvin Garrish Highway, left on Lighthouse Road, right on Creek Road, right on Silver Lake Drive, left on Irvin Garrish Highway and on through to the NPS docks where the parade ends.

5:30 p.m.: Singing of the national anthem and awards presentation for parade and Sand Sculpture Contest; Books to Be Red stage. Bring your own lawn chair.

  • 5:45 to 6:30 p.m.: Storytelling with Donald Davis at the lawn of Books to Be Red
  • 7 to 10 p.m.: Join in the finale event at the Community Beach Bonfire Under the Stars at the Ocracoke Day Use Area/NPS Lifeguard Beach. Bring your beach blankets, chairs, marshmallows, roasting sticks. Please pack in and pack out. Lifeguards will be on duty until 8 p.m.

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