The Outer Banks’ Second Season

Fall Brings a Host of Festivals and Fabulous Weather to the OBX



There are many Fall events in the Outer Banks

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It used to be that autumn on the Outer Banks was the shoulder season, but that’s all changed. With so much to do in the fall—especially October—suddenly the shoulder season has become the “Second Season.”

There is something for everybody it seems. Lots of live music, a killer seafood festival, and one of the best marathon events on the East Coast.

The first half of October is a music lover’s dream come true.

Things kick off with the 2nd Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival on Oct. 4–6 at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo. This was an amazing show last year—so good that the headliners from last year are coming back for an encore performance. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage are an amazing act; lots of energy, great musicians and a wonderful show.

The following weekend is Columbus Day Weekend, and there are two festivals that have become part of Outer Banks music legend.

Up in Corolla, Mike Dianna hosts the 3rd Annual Mustang Music Festival. It’s an eclectic and well-thought-out blend of local musicians and national touring acts. The festival uses two stages—a small stage on the deck of Mike Dianna’s Grill Room and a larger one under the tent. There will always be a band playing from the moment the gates open on Friday until Orgone—with its tight, funky, almost African beat—closes the show on Saturday.

It’s nice that it ends on Saturday because the 7th Annual Duck Jazz Festival is on Sunday. The festival is kind of the grand finale to the October music season. It’s free, the setting (on the Duck town green) is awesome, and the music has never ceased to be incomparable.
While all the music is happening, the 21st Annual Outer Banks Parade of Homes is also taking place. In many ways this is the grand dame of the Outer Banks fall events. This should be one of the most exciting Parade of Homes in a number of years—builders are building again, and houses are selling

On the following weekend, last year’s October surprise, the Outer Banks Seafood Festival, takes center stage in Nags Head. The only complaint about last year’s event was organizers were expecting 2,000, and they got four or five times that many. With an extra day (the event starts on Friday this year), and better planning, things should be much better.

The weather on the Outer Banks in October is almost always gorgeous, which is why so many outdoor events are scheduled, including the Kelly’s 20th Annual Charity Golf Tournament. It’s on a challenging but beautiful links-style course—Nags Head Links—everyone has fun, and all of the proceeds go to the Outer Banks Community Foundation, which is at the heart of local giving.

There are, of course, at the end of the month, the usual haunted houses and pumpkin gathering. Check out “Draped in Black; Victorian Death Rituals” at the Island Farm in Manteo and Harvest Hayday at the Elizabethan Gardens, also in Manteo.