One of the most fulfilling parts about living on the Outer Banks is taking part in raising money for various charities. It’s almost always local charities, because one of the things that defines the Outer Banks community is that we take care of our own. National charities and nonprofits do not have as strong of a presence in the local community.
There are a number of different ways that local organizations go about raising funds, but there are some things they all have in common: they have to be fun, it doesn’t hurt to have food, wine and live music, and there has to be something truly unique about each one.
The Duck & Wine Festival is a prime example of these “requirements.” In an effort to raise money for the Currituck-Dare Community Foundation, the festival takes place at the Waterfront Shops on the northern end of the Duck Boardwalk in the town of Duck, NC. The concept follows a logical pattern with a marvelous outcome. Gather all of the best chefs on the Outer Banks, tell them every dish must be based around duck, pair the dishes with wine, provide live music and (hope for) ideal weather, and you have the perfect fundraiser.
The Mustang Spring Jam in May is another exciting event for Outer Banks locals and visitors. With the word “mustang” in the title, there can be little doubt that this is a fundraiser for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, the organization that manages the Spanish Mustang herd north of where the paved road ends in Corolla.
Mike Dianna of Mike Dianna’s Grill Room has been putting on this event for the last few years and has done an outstanding job of getting some great musical talent to the Outer Banks. This fundraiser is all about music, although there is beer, wine and food available.
The Mustang Music Festival is the fall version of this event. While the Spring Jam is a one day affair, the Music Festival takes an entire weekend. One of the greatest aspects of the Mustang Music Series is how family friendly the events are.
Not as much fundraising occurs once summer begins, primarily because everyone is way too busy working the tourist season to put the time in for a successful event. However, the Red Nose Wine Festival is the exception to the rule. Taking place in the middle of July, it is tons of fun and features wine, food and live music.
The Red Nose Wine Festival is a fundraiser for the Outer Banks Relief Foundation. Not every event uses wine to raise money.
Another amazing fundraiser is the Outer Banks Marathon, which was one of the primary sources of funding for the Dare Education Foundation in its first few years. It now also supports the Outer Banks Relief Foundation. Admittedly, running 26.2 miles is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but for the dedicated thousand who turn up each year, the course takes the runners through some of the most beautiful and unique parts of the Outer Banks. And for those who want to participate but don’t feel comfortable going all the way, they can take part in the Half Marathon of 13.1 miles.
Perhaps one of the most unique fundraisers, the Womanless Beauty Pageant at Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern proves that most men should NOT attempt to get in touch with their feminine sides. But the event is hilarious, hugely successful and even more unique because each contestant is able to raise money for the charity of their choice.
It’s all part of the Outer Banks way of thinking when it comes to helping our community. The desire to do something meaningful is strong among the locals. The way we go about doing it… that may be a little different.