About the Festival
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About the Festival

The 38th Annual NC Seafood Festival

The NC Seafood Festival, held the first full weekend in October since 1987 on the Morehead City waterfront and free to the public, promises to be a fun-filled event with food, entertainment, kids’ activities, vendors, and artisans – while educating the public, promoting the seafood industry in North Carolina, and honoring the commercial fishing fleet that brings fish and shellfish to our tables, markets and restaurants.

The largest three-day festival in North Carolina, according to Visit NC, an economic development partnership in North Carolina, and ranked nationally in the top 200 “Must See” festivals by the International Festivals & Events Association, The NC Seafood Festival’s 38th annual event will be held October 4-6, 2024. Over the festival weekend, the festival will entertain an estimated 200,000 visitors; host more than 200 artisan and commercial vendors, seafood vendors featuring fresh, locally caught North Carolina Seafood and other NC produced food and beverage products; and provide children’s games and rides, cooking demonstrations and tastings, and two musical stages.

The festival is a non-profit organization of Carteret County citizens and businesses, in conjunction with the Town of Morehead City, NC. It not only publicizes the wide variety of seafood indigenous to our state, it also boosts tourism and recreation on the Crystal Coast during non-summer months and provides opportunities for nonprofit, civic, church, and educational organizations to raise funds through participation in the festival.

Savoring Seafood

From traditional seafood fare to the more exotic – all will be available for attendees to sample during the festival. No one should go away hungry!

Festival goers will find familiar and new seafood delights at dozens of 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.

In addition, cooking demonstrations will be held throughout the weekend at both the Got to be NC Seafood Cooking Stage and the Carolina Cooker Stage on the Big Rock Deck. Highlighted is an endless variety of seafood prepared in multiple ways.

Dance, Play, Shop

Through the years, the activities and events have grown, and this year is expected to dazzle first-timers as well as those who have attended past festivals. While some activities have come and gone, the famous Flounder Fling has stayed on the events list! Tradition has it that Miss North Carolina “flings” the first flounder on Saturday.

Entertain the whole family with live music as continuous acts hit the stage all weekend long. The entertainment will start on Friday night and continue through Sunday afternoon on the Main Stage.

Bring your chairs or blankets as there is plenty of seating on the grass in front of the stage making this a great place to listen to music while enjoying some of the best seafood North Carolina has to offer.

For the kids and the young at heart, Armband Friday is a big deal. Buy an armband for $30 for unlimited access to amusement rides (Friday, Oct. 4th only) and the festival will donate $5 from each purchase to the school of the purchaser’s choice.

October is close enough to Christmas to knock a few things off visitor’s gift list with one-of-a-kind handmade goods from dozens of artisans and vendors. Photography, painting, pottery, glass blowing and molding, wood carvings, wall hangings, garden décor and more will line the streets.

Each Saturday night during the festival is celebrated for the love for North Carolina seafood and the success of another NC Seafood Festival with a fireworks show over Sugar Loaf Island across from the Morehead City waterfront. It’s a magical event filled with food, festival rides, and fireworks.

Events Worth Noting

Twin Bridges Race

The 2024 NC Seafood Festival includes the Twin Bridges Race, a certified 8K runner's course, perfect for beginners and veterans alike. The event kicks off at the NOAA Laboratory in Beaufort and takes the scenic route over the Morehead City Bridge, through historic downtown Morehead City, over the Atlantic Beach Bridge, ending on the Atlantic Beach Causeway!

This race is a chance for participants to test their endurance and experience the camaraderie of a mini marathon, with captivating views over two bridges and the incredible scenery of the Crystal Coast.

Register here.

Port of Pours

The North Carolina Seafood Festival is excited to announce that the Port of Pours event will return this year on Saturday, October 5th. This ticketed event is a celebration NC’s coastal craft breweries within the broader festival footprint, offering both VIP and general admission experiences. Port of Pours attendees will sip on unlimited craft brews while enjoying music and more!

Blessing of the Fleet

One of the festival’s chief goals – 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 Sunday morning each festival weekend. It is a Seafood Festival tradition you don’t want to miss.

Stay up to date by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Click here to find answers to frequently asked questions about parking, handicap access, pets, and more.

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

The NC Seafood Festival Mission Statement

The North Carolina Seafood Festival is a nonprofit organization of Carteret County citizens and businesspeople, in conjunction with the Town of Morehead City, NC.

Recognizing the importance of seafood to eastern North Carolina, The 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.

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