Down East Heritage – Alive and Well “At the End of the Road” on Harkers Island
“Join us for Waterfowl Weekend at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center”
The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center works every day of the year to document, preserve and celebrate the rich cultural traditions and the natural resources of Down East Carteret County. Over the years, this true community-based heritage center has brought together the people of these communities to not only honor the past, but to make sure that these traditions continue for the next generation.
The first weekend of December is the time when folks come together to spend a few days renewing their ties to this heritage as they visit with others from near and far who share this connection to the land, to this way of life and to a future that builds on the traditions that have sustained these communities for generations.
“This weekend is Harkers Island’s weekend to share its rich history and community traditions with all who want to be part of this great homecoming-style weekend. Through the Core Sound Decoy Festival at Harkers Island School, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center “at the end of the road,” and all the other churches, organizations and artists along the way, Core Sound’s hospitality will give you a wonderful weekend to begin your holiday season,” summarizes Karen Willis Amspacher, museum director and Island native.
This weekend is truly an island event, not only culturally, but also financially as sales and proceeds from this event support schools, churches, artists, carvers and local businesses. Beginning 23 years ago at the Core Sound Decoy Festival, still held at the school, this event has expanded and grown to be Carteret County’s largest off-season event providing visitors (and customers) to the entire region.
From the boatbuilding demonstration at the museum to the kitchens of local churches, the success of this weekend is grounded in the authenticity of this gathering. “All of Harkers Island opens its door, and its heart, to welcome friends and family to come and be part of the Island during this weekend,” Amspacher further explains. “We honor all these traditions throughout the year, but the first weekend of December is by far our greatest gathering of all these treasured pieces of our culture and community. We at the Museum hope you will join us for our part of the celebration – Waterfowl Weekend – where we have brought together all the traditions (decoy carving, waterfowl art, boatbuilding, community history, commercial fishing, traditional music, Down East cooking, and more) to give visitors to the Island the story of how all this comes together to make us who we are.”
Details for the Waterfowl Weekend at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center include:
Friday night, Dec 3 – Friday Night Preview Honoring Rodney Kemp – Historian, Storyteller and “Fish House Liar” beginning at 7 pm with a Wild Game and Local Seafood Extravaganza. Tickets are $150 couple, $75 individual which also includes a fancy dessert reception following the seafood event with gallery tours and a preview of Weekend activities.
Saturday All Day, Dec 4 – Doors open at 9 with artists, carvers and craftsmen inside and out. The museum’s boatbuilding demonstration begins early that morning with the traditional skiff to be completed by Sunday afternoon. Local seafood offerings for the weekend include scallop fritters, stewed shrimp, award-winning chili and the original Core Sound sweet puppies. Booksignings throughout the weekend will be highlighted by the latest release from UNC Press, “Coasts of Carolina” by Bland Simpson and photographer, Scott Taylor, who will be onhand Saturday and Sunday. A special opportunity for visitors this year will be to hear the Menhaden Chanteymen singing the traditional work songs of the menhaden industry that once flourished in Carteret County.
11 am - Lost Girls
12 noon - “Fish House Liars” led by Rodney Kemp
1 pm – Panel discussion with menhaden workers
2 pm – Menhaden Chanteymen
5 pm – Live Auction featuring the best in waterfowl and Down East collectibles – decoys, art, guns along with this year a handmade spritsail skiff.
Sunday, Dec 5 – The day begins at 8 am with “Core Sound Fellowship” led by Rev. Kerry Willis and special music provided by Mary Willis of Davis and “Touch of Grace” of Harkers Island. This wonderful time of fellowship is followed by the best breakfast you can imagine – cheesy grits, pork tenderloin, homemade sausage and light rolls. Music continues from 11-2 with Ocrafolks and at 2 pm a panel discussion of Harkers Island boatbuilders to honor the restoration of the “Jean Dale,” a 1940s Harkers Island workboat built by Brady Lewis.
A free shuttle (ADA priority) will be running throughout the weekend between the Core Sound Museum and the Decoy Festival at the Harkers Island School. Admission is free at the Museum. For more information, please call 252.728.1500, visit us on the web at www.coresound.com or find us on Facebook.