An update from Sundae Horn, the Ocracoke Fig Festival coordinator

New this year: A category just for pairing Ocracoke figs with Ocracoke seafood at the 9th Annual Ocracoke Fig Festival Aug. 4 to 6.

This year, there are four award categories:

Traditional ingredients are limited to flour, sugar, oil/butter/margarine, eggs, pecans/walnuts, fig preserves, milk/buttermilk, vanilla and salt/spices. A sugar glaze or buttermilk frosting is also acceptable.

  • Innovative Dessert (Anything goes, as long as it’s sweet and figgy.)
  • Fig Kids (Anything goes, as long as it’s figgy – and the cook is 16 or under.)
  • NEW for 2022: Fish ‘n’ Figs (Creative pairings of Ocracoke figs and Ocracoke seafood)
Sundae Horn, Ocracoke Fig Festival coordinator. Photo: P. Vankevich

Enter in one or all categories; cakes are judged on Presentation, Traditional/Innovative Flavors, and “Figginess.” 

No need to sign up ahead of time. Deliver your uncut Fig Cake entry to the Berkley Barn between 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6. Fig Festival volunteers will get your information and assign a number to your cake for the blind judging. If you’d like to share your recipe, please bring a copy. All Bake-Off entries become the property of Ocracoke Fig Festival and will be served to festival attendees after the judging.

This year, the Fig Festival welcomes a special guest: restaurateur and 2022 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef in the Southeast” award-winner Chef Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham. Chef Ricky will judge the Fish ‘n’ Figs category and join Ocracoke residents in judging the Traditional, Innovative, and Kids entries.

Fig cakes go on display at 11 a.m. and judging begins at 11:30 a.m.; winners are announced as soon as the judges make their choices. The audience is welcome to join in the Fig-For-All (the eating of the entries) after the Bake-Off is over.

The Fig Cake Bake-Off is the main event of the Fig Festival – a three-day celebration of Ocracoke’s love affair with sweet and delicious figs.

The fun begins Thursday afternoon with a Porch Talk at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum at 1 p.m. Chester Lynn, Ocracoke’s fig expert, will give a presentation about the island’s many fig tree varieties, the fruit they bear, and how Ocracokers like to eat them.

Friday’s special event is a book signing with Chef Ricky at the OPS Museum from 3 to 5 pm. Bring your well-loved copy from home or buy one at the OPS Museum Gift Shop. Be in line by 4:30 to guarantee a chance to meet Ricky.

Enjoy performances by local musicians including Molasses Creek and Raygun Ruby. Beer, wine, and soft drinks will be available to purchase 3 to 11pm. Dive for the Oyster and Dig for the Clam when you join in the traditional Ocracoke Square Dance Friday evening.

The annual Fig Preserve Tasting Contest begins at 3 p.m. on Friday and offers festival-goers a chance to sample several varieties of fig preserves and vote for their favorites. (Tasting tickets are $3 each.) Anyone can enter Fig Preserves in the two categories: Traditional or Innovative (including combinations with other fruits). Drop off your entry at OPS Museum before 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5.

Saturday kicks off at 10 a.m. with vendor booths and a silent auction. Fig Cakes (and other entries) will go on display at 11 a.m.

Following the Bake-Off on Saturday, the Barn will be busy inside and out with vendor booths (selling all things fig-tastic), live music from local musicians, information from fig experts, crafts for kids, and a Q & A with Chef Ricky.

Beer, wine, and soft drinks will be available to purchase from 1 p.m. till midnight. Come out and enjoy a dance with the Ocracoke Rockers.

Questions? Call Sundae Horn at 252-921-0283.

The schedule below has been updated as of Aug. 3.

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