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  • Writer's pictureAl Friedman

OBXmas & New Years on the Outer Banks!

Make the holidays even more memorable by spending them on the Outer Banks. We celebrate year-round, providing fun events for the entire family every month. Below we have highlighted some of the major holidays events, and activities happening on our coast to help you better plan your stay.

Winter Lights: November 30, 2019 - January 19, 2020. Tuesdays to Saturdays in December; Friday and Saturdays in January. (Closed on Dec 24, 25, 31 and Jan 1); Stroll along enchanted garden paths and discover the joy of the season with holiday lights, sights and sounds transforming The Elizabethan Gardens into an illuminated winter wonderland. The radiant glow of the gardens, traditional holiday decor and fantastical displays are a true spectacle to behold. 

Wings Over Water: Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival is one of the premier wildlife festivals in the United States. It is comprised of dozens of birding, paddling, photography, art and natural history trips, tours and programs.  Participants come from all over America and the world to enjoy the beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife. Held December 6-8, 2019

Jingle 12 Popup Christmas Bar/Restaurant:  A pop up Christmas Bar/Restaurant. Dining room will be open for families with children as well. Christmas themed cocktails and appetizers.  Running from December 5th to New Years with more details to come.

116th Annual Celebration Of The Wright Brothers First Flight: On December 17, 2019, the First Flight Society and the National Park Service (NPS) will continue the tradition of honoring the accomplishments of Wilbur and Orville Wright at the 116th anniversary celebration of the first heavier-than-air, controlled, powered flight. The event takes place outside of the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center and park entrance fees will be waived for the day.

Hatteras Island Christmas Parade: December 14, The holidays would not be complete without an old fashion Christmas parade and Hatteras Village is where you can find one. For warm, hometown, holiday spirit, this is an event that no one should miss. After the parade and as twilight draws nigh, Santa is transported throughout the village on one of the local fire trucks wishing holiday cheer to all the local youngsters as well as to those who are young at heart.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Winter Climb: The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will be open to the public for a free Winter Climb on Saturday December 14, 2019 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Volunteers from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society and Cape Hatteras National Seashore park rangers look forward to greeting local residents and visitors at the lighthouse. Children who wish to climb the lighthouse must be at least 42” tall, and children under 12 years of age must be escorted by a person at least 16 years old. Climbing the lighthouse is strenuous and is equivalent to climbing a 12-story building.

New Year in the New World: December 31, The town of Manteo is closing the downtown streets so that everybody can gather for live music, family-friendly activities and an early ball drop for the kids. Local food vendors will be on site, and the downtown restaurants and bars will be open late. Topping it off is a full-on fireworks show, the largest in the state, choreographed to music. 

Parades: Enjoy the town of Manteo Christmas Parade and Holiday Homes tour on December 2 for a taste of historic Roanoke Island this season. Want to see a famous, national award-winning Christmas decorated home as seen on TV? The Poulos family lights up Kill Devil Hills at their home all season long! To the south, the village of Hatteras will celebrate with a Christmas Parade on December 8, home-baked cookies, hot chocolate, a special winter climb at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and awards. To the north, Duck is having their Yuletide Celebration, complete with holiday music, tasty local treats, and the lighting of the crab pot.

St Nicholas at Island Farm: Kids can meet the legendary elf himself while parents can capture some amazing photos in the interior of a warm, fire-lit farmhouse at this special event that rings in the holiday season with style. Held at the Island Farm in Roanoke Island, this afternoon Meet and Greet with Santa will be a treat for family members of all ages, with tons of activities and beautiful seasonal displays to put everyone in a holiday mood. St. Nicholas himself will arrive at the Island Farm – (one of Manteo’s favorite historic attractions) – at noon by an ox-drawn carriage. Once he has landed at the site, kids can visit with St. Nick in front of the fire at the on-site farmhouse, with photographs available to download online soon after his visit. In addition to the special one-day-only visit by Santa Claus, visitors can also enjoy an ox-drawn wagon ride around the farm’s trails in the early afternoon hours, and can enjoy piping hot cider and ginger cookies at the visitors center before exploring the scenic and seasonal farm. Fun for family members of all ages, this unique event captures the beauty of the Island Farm as well as the celebratory appearance of St. Nicholas to create an afternoon that visitors of all ages will adore.

The Poulos Christmas House: Follow a couple wooded roads to the heart of Kill Devil Hills to take in one of the most spectacular holiday light displays in coastal North Carolina. The annual “Poulos Family Christmas” lights display has become one of the most beloved Christmas traditions for many Outer Banks locals, and everyone is welcome to discover this expansive holiday display in person to see what all the fuss is about. The Poulos Family Christmas display first rose to fame when it was featured as the winner of The Today Show’s annual Christmas Lights competition roughly a decade ago, and since then, it has been featured in a number of shows and media outlets, such as the HGTV network. The impressive display takes 12 weeks to set up and costs roughly $3,500 in energy bills every year, but the resulting “show” is well worth the effort for many visitors. Folks who pay a visit to the festive and privately owned home are treated to multiple landscapes of twinkling lights, which includes a toy and model train display, and plenty of incredible photo ops. Easily the Outer Banks’ most popular home for holiday light hunters, the Poulos Family Christmas display is a sight that can’t be missed.

Manteo Tree Lighting: The tree lighting program in Manteo, set in front of the historic old courthouse, is a musical dramatic celebration of that indefinable spirit of selfless joy that, for over 400 years, has touched the lives of Roanoke Island residents at Christmas and caused them to persevere against all odds in pursuance of their dreams. Christmas season in downtown Manteo gets underway with two annual events. The Lighting of the Town Tree traditionally takes place the 1st Friday night in December on the Manteo Waterfront, featuring hot chocolate and holiday music sung by children of all ages. Price: FREE Age limit: Fun for the whole family! When is the event?: Friday, December 6, 2019 - 6:00 pm Where is the event? Town of Manteo

207 Queen Elizabeth Street Manteo

Kites with Lights: Come spread the holiday cheer with Kitty Hawk Kites and the Jockey’s Ridge Crossing crew. Free visit and pictures with Santa, cocoa and cookies, and a light show with kites on Jockey’s Ridge are just a few of the fun and festive things going on… not to mention all the amazing holiday sales! Share all your Christmas wishes and have your picture taken with Santa at Kitty Hawk Kites at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing in Nags Head on Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30. Have some fun with Santa’s elves and try out classic toys straight from the workshop on the second floor of Kitty Hawk Kites! On Saturday, we’ll also have plenty of holiday treats to enjoy, with the proceeds benefiting the Friends of Jockey’s Ridge. Be sure to make it out on Saturday, November 30 for a light display like none other. Kites with Lights, at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, will feature large 19-to-30 foot kites decked out in the spirit of the holiday season! Enjoy the lighting of the Jockey’s Ridge State Park Solar Christmas tree out on the dunes directly across from Jockey’s Ridge Crossing.

Eat Locally: Dining at one of the Outer Banks’ many authentic restaurants is the perfect way to enjoy the holidays, and a handful of the area’s favorites are open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or both! Enjoy numerous local restaurants that throw festive parties for the holidays without the long wait!

The Christmas Shop: Are you a sucker for anything Christmas decor? If so, visiting the Outer Banks Christmas Shop is an absolute must. It's not just a store... Its an experience. Opening its doors in 1967, the Christmas Shop is heavily loved by the locals and as soon as you enter those wooden doors you will understand why. Come see what all the fuss is about.

Take a tour of the historic Whalehead Club by candlelight: Step back in time to the 1920’s decor and customs taking place during Mr. and Mrs. Knight’s time in Corolla. Whalehead is beautifully decorated in the tradition of the times with greenery, Christmas trees, music, luscious food, fruit, candy and nuts. The tour will feature a live performance on the original one of a kind Steinway piano, custom designed for Mrs. Knight. Tour participants will see four floors of this magnificent mansion including the newly designed Starkey room exhibit. Guest will enjoy a holiday beverage and homemade Christmas cookies at the close of the tour. Our 2019 Candlelight Tour schedule is November 29th, 30th, December 6th, 13th, 14th, 20th and 21st from 5:30 to 6:30pm.  Admission is $20.00. Tours are limited and sell out quickly so please be sure to register in advance, 252-453-9040. Tours are non-refundable.

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse: first illuminated on December 1, 1875 – was the last of the great, brick lighthouses built on the North Carolina coast. Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc., a local non-profit organization that renovated the light station, invites the public to join them on Friday, December 1 to celebrate 144 years of light! To celebrate further, Outer Banks Conservationists will be waiving the standard admission fee and offering free climbs, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.! Enjoy great views from the top, not to mention – nuzzles from a few Corolla Wild Horses. The horses will join us on-site at 11 a.m. The Currituck Beach Light Station is located in Corolla, on the left after the 11-mile marker, just to the north of the Historic Corolla Park. Vacationers, locals, and homeschoolers are always welcome!

The 3rd Annual Christmas Craft Village: This is a two-day outdoor show held on the waterfront grounds in Historic Corolla Park at Whalehead.  It’s the perfect occasion to shop for those you love in one place while sipping on hot coco and singing some of your favorite holiday carols with the likes of Nick Hudson and Wendy Boone of Sentimental Journey (12 – 2 pm). Find unique gifts for your friends and family from a variety of local crafters and artists that come together to sell their wares on, Friday & Saturday, November 29th & 30th from 11 AM – 4 PM.  Plan to have lunch in the park with us from one of our local favorites foodies, Mutt-N-Jeff!  For cancellations and more information follow us on Facebook @CurrituckOBXevents

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