North Carolina Seafood Festival Celebrates Maritime History, Heritage & More on the Crystal Coast


NC Seafood Festival logoSteeped in maritime history, the Crystal Coast of North Carolina's deep-rooted heritage in the fishing and seafood industries is everywherefrom the small fishing villages Down East, to Beaufort, to Morehead City, to Swansboro and beyond. You see it in the local seafood markets that dot the coastal towns. You see it on the menus of the fine dining establishments and waterfront restaurants. You see it celebrated in the local and regional festivals. You even see it fresh and ready for you in the pubs and bars.

There is such a rich cultural, historical and regional tie to the local seafood, and the fishermen who bring it to shore, that there's a Crystal Coast festival dedicated to the sole purpose of celebrating seafood.

The North Carolina Seafood Festival is a well-loved annual event that takes place on the first weekend of October each year in downtown Morehead City. It's one of the most popular festivals on the Crystal Coast and one of the largest seafood festivals in the state. Drawing hundreds of thousands annually, the NC Seafood Festival is all about indigenous seafood, appreciation for those that bring it from the ocean to the docks, and a lot of free family fun.

The Blessing of the Fleet is an emotional ceremony honoring those that risk their lives daily in the commercial fishing and seafood industry to bring in the bountiful harvests from the sea. Commercial fishing vessels that call Eastern North Carolina home not only impact what we are able to enjoy locally but also what is available on a national level when it comes to the fresh seafood you find in restaurants and stores. The Blessing of the Fleet is a unique and memorable part of the NC Seafood Festival each year and not to be missed.

Education is part of the festival, too. The rich cultural and maritime traditions are an important part of the past and a beacon for the future. It ties generations together and preserves the local heritage. That's why you'll see boat builders, decoy carvers, crab pot makers sharing their crafts right alongside other local artisans, storytellers and musicians.

It wouldn't be a seafood festival without, well, seafood. You can expect to find about a hundred different booths offering up both traditional and nontraditional fare from the sea. Come hungry so you have plenty of room for local favorites like Down East chowder, shrimp burgers and charcoal mullet. Be adventurous and try something new like sea urchin on a stick or some marinated eel. The hope is that you'll leave inspired and continue on with your own seafood creations at home. Don't forget to check out the Cooking with the Chef's tent where you'll find a marriage of North Carolina seafood and local produce allowing you a peek into how the NC Seafood Festival dishes are prepared. There is absolutely no excuse for you to go home hungry.

The celebration continues beyond the seafood smorgasbord with some of the best entertainment around, so come early and stay late. Boat shows, sailing regattas, fishing tournaments and fireworks are all part of the NC Seafood Festival. Both young and old as well as visitors and residents flock to the festival each year. Can you see why?

Bring your family, bring your friends and join us in the seafood celebration. We'll look for you. Cheers to our beloved North Carolina Seafood!