‘Budgetzilla’ by Ride the Wind Surf Shop captures Best in Show for the Ocracoke July 4 parade. Photo: C. Leinbach

Observer staff report

The July Fourth holiday on Ocracoke was all that the Appling-Fields family expected and more.

“Oh my gosh, you guys had the best fireworks,” said Claire Appling.

The family, who hails from Wilmington, was among the thousands on Ocracoke over the three days Independence Day holiday was celebrated on the island.

Her brother, Ian Appling, echoed many about the quality of the fireworks display put on by Pyrotecnico on July 2, launched from the end of the NPS parking lot at the south end of the island.

“They, honestly, rivaled Washington, D.C.,” he said.

The family also helped their cousin, S. Ross Browne, an artist from Richmond, Va., with his sand sculpture of a “magical, mysterious sea creature,” he told the Observer.

Browne was among the 32 individuals and groups that built sand sculptures on July 4 at the Lifeguard Beach.

‘Red, White & Bluey’ by the Barbour family of Charlottesville, Va., wins Best in Show of the sand sculpture contest. Photo by Kristal Young.

“There were so many good ones,” noted one of the judges. “There were so many great octopuses and turtles. They were all amazing.”

The judges chose the best of the four categories and everyone on the beach voted for Best in Show.

The judges noted the attention to detail in Browne’s creation and creativity shown in a large, green mermaid. Had there been such a category, they would have given “Best Original Concept” to the Reverse Mermaid created by Daisy O’Neal and her group.

Later in the day, 30 wheels, floats and walkers lined up for the Old Time Ocracoke parade, featuring 10-year-old island boy Dallas Mason as the Grand Marshal.

The rising fifth grader has been wowing crowds since his public debut at the Ocracoke Health Center Seafood Festival fundraiser in 2019 at which the Rockers capped a successful event.

Now, Dallas is the group’s drummer since its prior drummer, Tommy Hutcherson, is now a regular with the Ray McAllister Band.

On Monday night, more than 100 visitors and islanders joined in the traditional Ocracoke square dance in the Berkley Barn, featuring music by Molasses Creek and calling and instruction by Philip Howard and Desiree Christa Adams.

The Appling-Fields group participated in just about every event.

“It had a lovely, small-town feel,” Claire said.

The following were the winners of the contested events:

Sand Sculpture winners:

Individual 12 & Under:  #8 Crab, James Husted, Charlotte, NC

Group 12 & under: #20 The Life of the Sea, Goldie Volotovskaia & Ford Sumner, Ocracoke, NC

Individual 13 & over: Iguana Peace, Dave Manthey, Monroe Falls, Ohio

Group 13 & over: Turtle stripes (leatherback), Meredith Burnett group, Garnet, Pa.

Best in Show (by popular vote): Red, White & Bluey, by the Barbour Family, Charlottsville, Va.

Parade Winners:

Best Theme: Mail Boat Aleta, by Kim Johnson of Ocracoke

Best Float: If I Only Had a Pool, Ocracoke Pool Association

Best Wheels: Skiing Lighthouse, Suzanne Keeys, Raleigh

Best Walk & Roll: Ed Barbour 101st Airborne Vietnam ’67 to ’68, wearing his original uniform.

Best in Show: “Budgetzilla,” Ride the Wind Surf Shop, Ocracoke.

Learning to square dance on Ocracoke. Photo: C. Leinbach
Rising fifth-grader Dallas Mason is the Grand Marshal of the July 4 parade. Driving is his grandfather Rex O’Neal. Photo: C. Leinbach
Reverse Mermaid by Daisy O’Neal group. Photo: C. Leinbach
Ross Browne’s ‘mystical sea creature.” Photo: C. Leinbach
‘Surfin’ Bird Puff Daddy the Parrot by Tiffany Arthur. Photo: C. Leinbach
The fireworks crowd. Photo: P. Vankevich
Fireworks over Ocracoke. Photo: P. Vankevich
Previous articleFrom the archives: Ocracoke’s first 4th of July celebration
Next articleMechanical issues sideline Ocracoke Express until further notice, cuts Hatteras-Ocracoke vehicle service