Well, Christmas is officially here on the Outer Banks–or more accurately, Christmas season. We had our first frost last night . . . a fairly rare event, but they do occur, last Saturday was “Shop Small Saturday” and local businesses seemed to do pretty well and now Santa is working overtime trying to be everywhere at once.
For this weekend the big event on the northern beaches is the Yuletide Celebration in Duck.
In a tribute to the town’s heritage, the Christmas tree is formed from crabpots. And yes, in its own odd way it makes sense. Once upon a time, before it became a part of the modern tourist industry of the Outer Banks, Duck was a fishing village.
The tree (?) lighting is on Friday night, but the whole downtown is ablaze with lights. The town is sponsoring a Business Decorating Contest and town businesses take the competition seriously.
Saturday is the parade, complete with Santa riding in on a fire truck. Admittedly it’s not eight reindeer and a sleigh, but a big red truck and a siren is a great substitute.
It’s small town–actually, village–life at its best. Yes, it’s all about generating more businesses for the town’s shops and restaurants, but there is a very wholesome, family feel to the weekend, a sense that the entire community is inviting everyone to celebrate the holidays together.
The Duck Crabpot Tree lighting is not the only one on the Outer Banks this weekend. Down in Manteo, the annual event will be this Friday. As Outer Banks events go, it’s a pretty big one. Centered around the old County Courthouse–a magnificent early 20th century brick building that is now home to the Dare County Arts Council–it is a gathering of extraordinary music, most of it furnished by area high school choirs and bands, a little bit of speechifying, and just a wonderful reminder of what the Christmas season is supposed to be about.
The tree lightings don’t stop with this weekend.
The Whalehead Club up in Corolla will hold their 6th Annual Holiday Illumination next Friday (12/7). Ablaze with lights, decorated for Christmas, the Whalehead Club takes on a postcard like quality at this time of the year.
The event is much more than a simple tree lighting. The building itself is an impeccably restored Art Noveau mansion that was built in the 1920s. Actually part of Currituck County Heritage Park, the grounds include the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
Everything gets lit up simultaneously–the lighthouse, the grounds, the Whalehead Club and the the huge cedar that sits in the middle of the park’s grounds. There’s music, lots of singing, the piano in the mansion is a Steinway that dates back to the 1920s and free hot chocolate.
For those of us who live here, it truly is a magical time of year. For visitors, it’s a great time to discover that the magic of the Outer Banks is more than a summertime affair.