Everyone who attends will be required to wear masks. Stevens will also be controlling the number of people allowed in the Berkley Barn during the event.
Stevens said the vendors who are signed up at this point are as follows: Moonraker Tea Shop Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department Bella Fiore SeaBreak Skinvy Beauty Ride the Wind Consultant, Pure Room Fairy Stiches
To read a profile on Bland Simpson and listen to “King Mackerel And The Blues Are Running,” clickhere.
From our news services
Chapel Hill-–The beloved and long-running musical stage show “King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running: Songs & Stories of the Carolina Coast” will celebrate its 35th anniversary this Dec. 9 to 12 with four days of livestreaming concerts.
The original cast, dubbed “The Coastal Cohorts” and featuring Bland Simpson, Jim Wann and Don Dixon, will commemorate this anniversary with a four-night streaming event of the original PBS filmed stage production of the show and a digital release of cast recordings and newer music.
King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running will donate proceeds from music sales during the streaming events to North Carolina coastal conservation efforts, designating one charity each night:
Dec. 9: Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center (Harkers Island) Dec. 10: North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (Wilmington) Dec. 11: North Carolina Nature Conservancy (Durham) Dec. 12: North Carolina Coastal Federation (Ocean)
All shows start at 7:30 p.m.
“We never knew, way back when we first staged the show in 1985 in Chapel Hill, what the life of King Mackerel might be,” said author and musician Bland Simpson. “Celebrating the show’s 35th anniversary, we can and do enthusiastically state how glad we are to still be helping those whose mission is protecting maritime environments and heritage, for it is also our own.”
King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running is a long-running theatrical performance of music and stories about fishing and life along the Carolina coastline.
Called “a pure salt watered delight” by the late Clive Barnes, New York Post theater critic, King Mackerel is full of tall tales and rollicking songs told by the trio.
The musical, written and conceived by Bland Simpson and Jim Wann with help from Don Dixon and Jerry Leath Mills, has had many productions around the Carolinas, up and down the East Coast, and from Atlanta to Indianapolis to Calgary in Canada.
King Mackerel opened in 1985 at a westside Chapel Hill club called Rhythm Alley (a club occupying a former location of Cat’s Cradle) and has also had successful runs Off-Off-Broadway in 1995 and in 1996 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
A tour to celebrate the 35th anniversary was postponed due to COVID-19, and the original Cohorts plan to take the show back out on the road when it is safe to do so.
Over the last several years, we’ve written editorials about what it’s like on Ocracoke in the quiet season.
One of them was “The winter of our… well, normalcy” (2019)—which was a season of few disruptive storms and the ferries, for the most part, ran on time.
Ferry service is the lifeline for Ocracoke. When the boats don’t run, hospital and dental appointments are canceled, visitors can’t make it and a host of other inconveniences arise.
Some would argue that internet access is the second lifeline these days. This is especially true during a pandemic and many in quarantine. People can have their medical appointments online, work from home, take classes online and participate in meetings via videoconferencing apps such as Zoom and Skype. Apart from some glitches causing temporary loss of this access as well as complaints about slowness, internet has worked reasonably well.
As devastating 2019 was to the island, the year of 2020 will also long be remembered.
Still reeling from the historic Hurricane Dorian flooding last September, Ocracoke School was recently razed and will be replaced. Throughout the village, many houses have been raised a minimum of nine feet. Other houses have been demolished leaving vacant lots.
Just when the island was rebounding, a once-in-100 years pandemic of the novel coronavirus struck, first in China and spread rapidly throughout the world.
We are in a crazy world where too many people are in denial how serious this pandemic is. We are months away from a nation-wide distribution of vaccinations that, hopefully, will work.
As November comes to a conclusion, as was predicted by experts last spring and denied by many politicians, the virus has spiraled out of control in North Carolina, the United States and the world. Experts predict it will be even worse beginning two weeks from Thanksgiving when millions of people traveled to see their loved ones, congregated in large numbers and ignored the safety precautions that can significantly lessen the spread.
As of Nov. 28, at least 357,958 people in North Carolina havetested positive for the coronavirus and 5,219 have died. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services yesterday reported 3,444 new coronavirus cases in one day.
In the United States, more than 13 million individuals have been infected and more than 265,000 have died. The mortality rate is expected to increase significantly in the next few months. In the meantime, the spread will worsen and more and more people will sicken and die. Many more of the heroic health care workers will lose their lives while doing their jobs caring for the ill.
Vice President Pence said last spring the pandemic would largely be over by Memorial Day; President Trump said it would be the day after the election. Both are dead wrong.
Despite the best efforts by teachers and education officials, who nationwide have implemented virtual learning and modified in-class teaching, there are no easy solutions and students are suffering, both academically and psychologically.
If there were some bright spots this year, here is one: What was unexpected to islanders amid the pandemic is the great interest of folks wanting to visit Ocracoke. From the island temporarily shut down in the spring to keep the virus from spreading in the community to having one of the best seasons ever was stunning, with many remarking they had never seen so many October visitors.
Yet, the immediate future is bleak, and Ocracoke, which has been largely spared, will most likely get more cases as with almost everywhere else in the country.
Now that the most rancorous General Election in modern history is all but over, we hope that discord will not worsen and that we the people can put away our anger and fear of other viewpoints and work together to solve our mounting problems.
Will this be a winter of discontent? There’s always the chance of a big nor’easter or two that will damage the roads in the vulnerable areas beyond the Pony Pen. Seasonal depression is serious in any given year and many people will be even more affected by it because they will not be able to be with the ones they love.
But here’s a way out of any discontent. Spend some time daily reflecting as to how you as an individual can make the world a better place and act on it. Reach out to those who are alone.
Oh, and by the way, don’t believe everything you read on Facebook and Twitter. There are plenty of people and entities out there that want to push your buttons. Their motto? We’re not happy until we make you unhappy.
To catch up on Ocracoke news and much more, click here
By Connie Leinbach
Ocracoke Island is thankful as it continues to receive help from groups far and wide. Help is a welcome thing on an island reliant chiefly on ferries for transportation.
Over the last year, since Hurricane Dorian flooded the island on Sept. 6, 2019, the island has seen a mammography van, off-island food trucks, groups bringing food, books, child car seats and more.
On Tuesday, Ivey Belch, pastor of the Life Saving Church, brought a van and trailer full of donated food for island patrons of the Bread of Life Food Pantry.
The Waymaker Youth Ministry, a collaboration of multiple churches in the Currituck area, prepared the feast items, which islanders received, along with turkeys, on Wednesday.
Before that, the Baptists on Mission Dental Van, based in Cary, was the latest group to travel here to provide free dental services to an island that has only one doctor at the Ocracoke Health Center.
The van, which normally does its work on weekends all around North Carolina, parked for three days Nov. 18 to 20 behind the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.
Staffed by three retired dentists and volunteer hygienists and aides, the group served 69 Ocracokers, said Julie Dolinger, who is the van’s only paid staff.
Twelve patients had cleanings, 49 saw the dentist and eight had exams/consults only, she said.
The quest to bring the van to Ocracoke has been germinating since after Dorian, said Lee Phillips, a member of the Baptists on Mission and drives one of the two dental vans.
“We have a dozen drivers for two vehicles that go all over the state,” he said. Based in Cary, the Baptists on Mission also have a medical screening van.
They needed an island connection to bring the dental van, which costs about $250 a day plus mileage, Phillips said.
Dr. Jim Hoke of Chapel Hill, a Rotarian and one of the retired dentists, happened to hear Phillips talking one day about how to get the van to Ocracoke, and Hoke had an island connection in Jude Wheeler, a retired medical professional, who became the point person and scheduled the visits.
“Judith put it all together here,” Hoke said while taking a break from doing extractions and fillings.
Hoke was put in touch with Dr. Stephen Smith, a Morehead City dentist, who got the Rotary Club of Morehead City and Rotary District 7730 to cover the van costs.
Dr. Joseph Leahy was the third dentist seeing patients.
Before the van arrived, Smith said the group needed a few more volunteer dental assistants, which was noted in online posts.
“Three heard about it and just showed up (on the island),” Phillips said. “It all worked out well.”
Hoke said the van does about $10,000 worth of dentistry a day, and Dolinger said the value of dental services rendered on Ocracoke was $16,762. The Anchorage Motel provided complimentary rooms for the volunteers.
“It’s great when these things come to the island because sometimes weather forces the ferries to suspend service,” noted Barbara Palmer, who was among those who took advantage of the dental van.
Hoke said he enjoys giving back and feels productive giving what others can’t do.
“Not everyone can pick up a drill and fix teeth,” he said.
Dolinger said they hope to return in February, but a date has not yet been set.
Here’s a follow up to the forthcoming horror movie “Ocracoke.” Reprinted courtesy of the Coastal Review Online.
By Chloe E. Williams
How much evil is society willing to tolerate in exchange for a good quality of life?
That’s a question that screenwriter David Dean’s independent full-length feature film “Ocracoke” tackles. “Ocracoke” focuses on Thomas White, a 160-year-old vampire who shipwrecked off the titular island’s coast on his voyage to the United States from England.
“It’s a new take on the classic vampire horror genre,” Dean said. “(White) made it to the shore, made a home here and just took over the town as kind of a benevolent despot … Then a detective comes to the island for a visit. And it happens to coincide with a bunch of other goings-on that turn this vampire’s world upside down.”
Dean, who’s been visiting the Outer Banks with his family for nearly 20 years, began writing the screenplay in 2014. “I just fell in love with the place and I always thought it would be a great setting for a movie.”
After COVID-19 hit, Dean attended an industry night in his hometown of Wilmington to see what was happening with the local film industry.
“I happened to meet Bea Noguera and her partner, Matt Cline, (who) run a production company,” he said. “I said, ‘If you ever want to do an indie flick,’ and they said, ‘Well, we’re not doing anything else during a pandemic.’”
They put out a casting call and were surprised at the response. “What we found out was that there was a plethora of actors in the area who literally had nothing to do,” he said.
Pallavi Ram, who currently lives in Cary, was especially excited to be cast in the project.
“What drew me in was firstly the script and secondly (my character) Ilona,” Ram said. “I have always loved watching vampire movies, like ‘Twilight,’ ‘Supernatural’, etcetera. So, getting to debut in one was incredible.”
Ram describes Ilona as a gypsy by heart. “(She’s) a young, free-spirited, Middle Eastern girl who is trying to find herself,” she said. “Her fearlessness is seen every time she faces Thomas White, and this is commendable. She represents the strong, independent woman.”
Ram also felt a physical connection to Ilona. “I instantly got excited to play her part as I somewhat felt the character was written having me in mind,” she said. “I felt I have a lot of physical similarities with Ilona’s character: she is described as someone ethnic, with long black hair, who came to the U.S. from overseas.”
In addition to her personality, Ram admires Ilona’s sense of agency. “Ilona has a sense of adventure and independence,” she said. “She says ‘yes’ to opportunities, and that is how she landed on Ocracoke. She did not let her family drama affect her but instead decided to make the best out of life.”
It wasn’t until the crew landed on Ocracoke themselves that Dean realized how much of an effect 2019’s Hurricane Dorian continues to have on the community. “People were so excited that anyone was interested in shining a spotlight on the island,” Dean said. “We actually have a Kickstarter campaign going to fund our ability to finish the film. We have enough money to do about a third of it right now. And then we have to raise funding to do the other two-thirds.”
The film features a team entirely from the Tarheel State. “It is a North Carolina production,” Dean said. “North Carolina has been my home since 2000. I just feel very blessed to have all the things that North Carolina has to offer.”
When Dean’s friend from another state offered him incentives to film elsewhere, he declined.
“If you’re making a film about Ocracoke, you’ve got to have it in Ocracoke,” he said. “And the pride that the actors who grew up here (and) live here have in making an independent film in their home state, it’s infectious … you know, that’s a bad term with COVID but everyone’s super pumped.”
“The purpose of getting all the crew from North Carolina is to promote the film industry back here, and to encourage local talents,” Ram said. “The camaraderie, I feel, would have been there anyways … because of how David Dean and Bea Noguera handled everyone and made the shooting and being on set more fun.”
Those connections helped Ram during long — and cold — days.
“Everyone was incredibly helpful and friendly. Snacks, coffee, food were provided to make the whole cast and crew more comfortable,” Ram said. That way, she could focus on her character. “Knowing the context and what the character is feeling in that moment (of filming) and few minutes before that moment is crucial for me to get into character.”
After this film debuts, Dean plans on returning in the spring to film a documentary about the Ocracoke community. “I just find it fascinating that they could just move,” he said. “But they’re sticking it out. And they’re fighting. And it’s just a story of resilience. So, we want to finish this project (and) use what publicity we can get from it to drive interest in the island.”
“A lot of people look to our country as being fractured right now,” Dean said. “And there’s a lot of people, look at our cast and crew, they could have sat through COVID, and just waited for it to be over … But they made a conscious decision to just get the job done.”
He sees this perseverance in the Ocracoke community. “I think we can use Ocracoke as a model for the rest of the United States,” he said. “Bad things happen that are out of our control, but you can’t just sit back and hope it gets fixed … And I think that it’s something that we don’t see a lot of places in this country right now.”
“It was heartbreaking to see on the news the effect Hurricane Dorian had on the island,” Ram said. “Seeing how the locals cleaned up, are back in business and welcoming visitors indeed show what a buoyant community they are. They fought back and had their community up and running and that is praiseworthy.”
Originally from the island of Mauritius, Ram understands the value of a close community. “It is one of the reasons why I joined this project. I come from a small island and I understand what it means to live in a small tightknit community,” she said. “While shooting, a resident lady … offered us her place to stay in case we needed it. This shows the warmth of the locals and I fell in love even more with the island.”
To be able to film, director Bea Noguera completed a certificate course on filming during the COVID era. But there were other precautions from the Centers for Disease Control they had to follow as well. “A lot of hand sanitizer, a lot of cleaning,” Dean said. “Masks are a prerequisite. We have a thermometer that is at people’s foreheads on set to make sure they don’t have a fever.”
The filming process itself changed too. Scenes with multiple players kept off-screen actors outside, socially distanced, until they were needed. “When they’re ready, they come in and the other people leave,” Dean said. “So, it’s taken a little bit longer than most shoots have. But I think it’ll be worth it, you know? And it’s better to be safe than sorry with COVID. We don’t want our cast to catch it. We certainly don’t want anyone on Ocracoke to catch it. So, we’re doing everything we can to keep everyone safe.”
“I hope that this is a hit. I hope that people see it, and they want to visit the sets,” Dean said. He hopes that filming at Howard’s Pub and Castle Bed and Breakfast will increase their traffic. “I just want these people to just look back at the film and go, ‘Okay, these guys made this film, it helped us rebuild our community, and we’re thankful for it.’”
Dean also wants to scare people. “It’s going to be a very, very scary film. We’re doing some unique things with the concept of vampire and vampire-ism … we’re evolving the concept of vampire movies,” he said. “I (also want) to get people thinking about … when is it time to stand up for what you believe in, and what are those beliefs?”
The contrast between evil and a comfortable quality of life wasn’t purely political, Dean said. “You see a lot of people out there who it’s all money, money, money,” he said. “Everyone has a right to be very successful, and everyone has a right to make money and to have nice things … as long as you’re not taking advantage of other people.”
“People turning a blind eye on issues, unfortunately, is what we can see on an everyday basis all around us,” Ram said. “So, this movie depicts this very idea and it’s what I hope people take from it. How each and every one of us interpret it is based on our own perspective and walks of life.”
“There’s a John Cougar Mellencamp song that says, ‘You got to stand for something or you’re going to fall for anything,’” Dean said. “I just wanted this to be a fun, enjoyable ride of a film that makes people think afterwards. I’m not trying to shove anything down anyone’s throat. But if they walk away from it going, ‘Oh, that’s interesting. I should think about that.’ Yeah, that’ll be cool.”
Follow the movie production on Instagram, @ocracokethemovie and Facebook, @ocracokevampire.
Chloe E. Williams, a resident of the Outer Banks for more than 10 years, is a senior at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill studying creative writing and Southern studies. She has worked as features editor for Coulture magazine at UNC and her credits as a freelancer and editorial intern include the North Beach Sun of Kill Devil Hills, Heart of NC Weddings of Durham and Cent Magazine of London.
RALEIGH—Gov. Roy Cooper today issued additional COVID-19 safety measures to tighten mask requirements and enforcement as cases continue to rise rapidly in North Carolina and across the country.
Executive Order No. 180, extending Phase 3 restrictions, goes into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and runs through Friday, Dec. 11.
“I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger,” Cooper said during a 2 p.m. briefing. “This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many.”
Cooper said the COVID-19 trends are going up. In addition to extending Phase 3 capacity limits and safety requirements, the order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement –- making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household.
The order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining six feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when travelling with people outside of the household.
The order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, updated North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map due to the rapid rise in cases and hospitalization over the past week.
Since introducing the system last week, 10 more counties have moved into the red category indicating critical community spread. There are now 20 red counties, doubled since last week, she said, and 42 orange counties. Read about the county alert system here.
“The coming weeks will be a true test of our resolve to do what it takes to keep people from getting sick, to save lives, and to make sure that if you need hospital care whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19, you can get it,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “I don’t want to see the bottom fall out and more people in the hospital.”
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan spoke at today’s press conference to explain what the city of Greensboro is doing to step up enforcement of existing, strong statewide safety rules. State officials have encouraged local governments to take action to require compliance and help lower COVID-19 numbers.
Vaughan said she does not want to see another business shutdown.
“But we must work together to change the trajectory of our numbers,” she said. “We must reduce the positivity rate. Let’s do our part to keep business in business.”
Face Coverings are a low-cost and highly effective way of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and, if adopted widely by all North Carolinians, may help to prevent further re-closures of the state’s businesses and operations.
Citing several studies, the executive order lists enhanced face covering requirements as follows:
Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public settings where other individuals may be present, regardless of one’s perceived ability to maintain physical distance of at least six feet;
Businesses in North Carolina must do their part to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 by ensuring their employees and guests wear face coverings at all times while on their premises, and by denying entry to those guests who do not wear face coverings, unless an exception to the requirement applies;
Face coverings should continue to be worn outdoors when it is not possible to consistently be physically distant, by at least six feet, from non-household members;
Mass gathering limits remain at 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
To catch up on Ocracoke news and much more, click here
Updatedto correct day of boat parade.
Hyde County government offices in Swan Quarter will be closed on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27.
Hyde County reminds all that COVID-19 continues to be a serious threat in North Carolina and cases are on the rise. If you are planning to gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember the three Ws: Wear a mask; Wash your hands; Wait six feet from others. Stay home if you are sick.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by following CDC guidelines this holiday season. For a list of tips to celebrate safely this Thanksgiving, see the flyer below.
The Ocracoke Holiday Boat Parade will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27, on Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic there will be no gathering on the Community Square dock or anywhere inside.
Boats small and large are welcome: Ocracoke watermen, kayakers, sailors, fisherfolk, jet ski-ers.
Enter at your own risk. Ocracoke Holiday Boat Parade is not responsible for any damage to your boat or others during the event
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there won’t be a gathering at the Watermen’s Exhibit with treats and drinks.
If you need more information, lights, or an inverter, please contact the organizer, Sundae Horn: 252-921-0283.