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Festival History

The North Carolina Seafood Festival is a non-profit organization of Carteret County citizens and business people, in conjunction with the Town of Morehead City, NC. Recognizing the importance of seafood to eastern North Carolina, Seafood Festival, Inc., is organized to develop and conduct a festival every year, the first weekend in October, to:

Promote the positive social and economic impact of the seafood industry on the citizens of North Carolina;

Educate the public about seafood and its importance to the state economy;

Publicize the wide variety of seafood indigenous to North Carolina and provide the opportunity for people to enjoy it;

Boost tourism and recreation in eastern North Carolina in the non-summer months;

Establish a scholarship program for educational pursuits related to the seafood industry;

Provide the opportunity for North Carolina non-profit, civic, church and educational organizations to raise funds through participation in the festival.

Festival proceeds are shared with community organizations who donate their efforts to the event. Since 1987, over $1.8 million has been dispersed among participating Carteret County non-profit groups.

Blessing of the Fleet

Without the fleet of commercial fishing vessels that come from Carteret County, the availability of fresh seafood in the state and even the nation would be greatly impacted. The commercial fishing vessels that make their home port in North Carolina provide one of the largest services to the entire nation with their ability to continually bring in the many varieties of fish and shellfish we have become so accustomed to having in our grocery stores.

The men and women who risk their lives to make a living from the sea are the providers of the bountiful harvest that we currently enjoy in restaurants. But the sea is sometimes not so forgiving and we now recognize the importance of controlled harvesting of the fish population, the threat of pollution that may occur hundreds of miles from the shoreline and the obligation for all of us to work together to insure a constant supply of quality seafood. The festival’s goal, which is to recognize the many who have given their lives in their occupation and to thank those who do it today, is realized with the emotional Blessing of the Fleet on the Morehead City waterfront.

Please make this most memorable experience a part of your visit to the Festival. The exact time and location will be announced during the Festival and printed in literature distributed prior to the first weekend in October. Contact our office for additional information.


Visit the NC Seafood Festival this year and we know you won’t go away hungry. From traditional “Down East” Clam Chowder, Shrimp Burgers and Charcoal Mullet to Sea Urchin on a stick, Calamari and Marinated Eel – all are available for you to sample during the Festival. Friday night starts with a kickoff. Saturday and Sunday feature nearly 100 individual booths sponsored by restaurants, civic organizations, school groups and churches all featuring their own interpretation of the best North Carolina has to offer from the bounty of the sea. Then this is the place for you! If not, then there will be numerous other treats to try, some common and some not so common for the more adventurous.

In any event, no one should go away hungry! One of the festival’s main goals is to promote the seafood industry on the Carolina coast. By giving you the opportunity to try so many wonderful treats we hope you will be tempted to try other seafood creations when you return home.

Fun and Entertainment

A weekend of FREE entertainment from local and regionally known artists to street clowns will start on Friday night and continue through the close of the festival on Sunday afternoon. Entertain the whole family by visiting all three stages featuring continuous acts to enjoy, sing along with or just clap your hands. There is plenty of seating on bleachers or grass, making this a great place to listen to the music while eating some of the best seafood North Carolina has to offer. Enjoy the music while having cold refreshments in the Oyster Rock Pub, hear traditional music of the Menhaden Chanteymen, those rugged sailors who worked the seas pulling the nets filled with the day’s catch aboard the first commercial fishing boats, and awesome music featuring local artists and regionally known singers are all part of the entertainment at this year’s Seafood Festival. Nationally known performers at past seafood festivals have included Blake Shelton, Tracy Byrd, Ryan Cabrera and The Spinners among others. Come early, stay late and be ready for the best entertainment – all for free!

The Vendors and Shopping

While at the Festival you will be amazed at the number of vendors and artisans offering their handmade goods for sale. Many of the vendors are local civic organizations, school groups and church members who use the Festival as their main source of raising funds for their annual projects. Photography, painting, glass blowing and molding, wood carvings, wall hangings and pottery are just a few of the arts and crafts you can expect to find along the streets in Morehead City during the Festival. Even though the Festival attracts well over 150,000 visitors, parking is so abundant and near, you can carry your prize purchase to the car within minutes and return so as not to miss any of the events. Be sure to stop by the Festival Booth for apparel, posters and other items unique to each year’s event.

All events, times, locations and performers are subject to change without notice. Call the Festival Hotline – (252) 726-NCSF for the latest information

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