The Outer Banks’ Second Season

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

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.


Finally, in November, for the athletes and runners, The Gateway Outer Banks Marathon Weekend is Nov. 8–10—a wonderful event that is designed to be a family weekend. Fun runs, a half-marathon and a marathon that runs through some of the most beautiful parts of the Outer Banks.

Eastern Surf Kayak Association Contest
Oct. 3–6
Jennette’s Pier, 
Nags Head

Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival
Oct. 4–6
Festival Park, Manteo

Psychopath: Haunted Trails
Oct. 4–26 (Fridays and Saturdays only)
Waterside Theatre, Manteo

Island Farm’s Pumpkin Patch
Oct. 5–26 
(Saturdays only)
Island Farm, Manteo

12th Annual Lighthouse to Lighthouse Bike Ride
Oct. 5
Still Waters Baptist Church, Nags Head

Heritage Day
Oct. 6
Whalehead Club, Corolla

21st Annual Parade of Homes
Oct. 10–13

Mustang Music Festival
Oct. 11–12

Free Fall Saturday Red Wolf Howlings
Oct. 12
Creef Cut Wildlife Trail, Manteo

Oink & Oyster Roast
Oct. 12
Longboards, Kitty Hawk

7th Annual Duck Jazz Festival
Oct. 13
Duck Town Park, Duck

Outer Banks Duathlon
Oct. 13

3rd Annual Manx on the Banx
Oct. 14–20

Outer Banks Seafood Festival
Oct. 18–19
Nags Head

Kelly’s 20th Annual Charity Golf Tournament
Oct. 21
Nags Head Golf Links, 
Nags Head

Corolla Car Show
Oct. 21
Whalehead Club, Corolla
Wings over Water 
Wildlife Festival
Oct. 22–27

Draped in Black; Victorian Death Rituals
Oct. 25–26
Island farm, Manteo

Harvest Hayday 2013
Oct. 26
Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo

Elizabeth II 30th Anniversary Exhibit
Nov. 1–Sun., Dec. 1
Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo

March for Babies
Nov. 2
Festival Park, Manteo

Fiesta for the Sea Turtles
Nov. 2
Hilton Garden Inn, 
Kitty Hawk

Chili Cookoff
Nov. 3
Southern Shores Crossing, Southern Shores

Outer Banks Marathon and Half Marathon
Nov. 8–10

Joseph Bathanti, NC Poet Laureate
Nov. 15
Roanoke Island 
Festival Park

Christmas in Corolla
Nov. 21–Dec. 28
Whalehead Club, Corolla

16th Annual 
Rockfish Rodeo
Nov. 23
Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo

Advice 5K Turkey Trot
Nov. 28
Town of Duck

Grand Illuminations
Nov. 29
Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo

3rd Annual Redfish Saturday Tournament
Nov. 30
Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head

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