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Ocracoke Fig Festival to host chef Vivian Howard

The Ocracoke community will celebrate the summer’s fig bounty at its annual Fig Festival with special guest chef and TV personality Vivian Howard.

The annual family-friendly event takes place Aug. 5–7, 2021 on Ocracoke Island.

The 8th annual Ocracoke Fig Festival will take place at the Berkley Barn and on the grounds of the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum. The three-day festival, which is sponsored by the Ocracoke Preservation Society, features live music, storytelling, children’s activities and crafts, talks by local fig experts and vendor booths offering fig preserves, fig cakes, fig trees, local cookbooks and other “fig-tastic” items. Mask-wearing will be required and social distancing measures will be in place to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.

“I’ve fallen in love with Ocracoke in recent years,” Howard said. “After the double whammy of Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic, I’m happy to encourage tourism to the island and do a little touring myself by participating in this year’s Ocracoke Fig Festival.”

Howard, star of the PBS shows, “A Chef’s Life” and “Somewhere South,” will be the festival’s special guest at the Savory Side of Figs Dinner on Thursday evening (Aug. 5). This popular event will feature savory fig dishes from local chefs and restaurants, as well as Howard. Tickets for the dinner will be available through the OPS Museum gift shop beginning July 1.

Other events with Howard include a book signing on Friday afternoon (Aug. 6) and a public Q&A on Saturday morning (Aug. 7). Howard also will serve as a guest judge at the Fig Cake Bake-Off, the showpiece of the fig festival on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 7).

All are welcome to submit a cake in one or both categories: Traditional or Innovative. The Traditional category is limited to the old-fashioned recipe, available in local cookbooks. Even using the same recipe, there are differences: the type of fig preserves used, the balance of spices or the cook’s magic touch. Anything goes in the Innovative category as long as there are figs in it. There also is a Youth category for ages 15 and younger. Howard will award the bake-off prizes and welcome the evening’s entertainment: Ocracoke’s favorite 80s cover band, Raygun Ruby.

During the week of the fig festival, island restaurants will offer fig-infused menu items, both savory and sweet. Local shops will stock this year’s selection of fig preserves, so you can take some Ocracoke sweetness home with you.

The Ocracoke Preservation Society is a 501c-3 non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to the preservation of Ocracoke Island’s rich historical and cultural heritage. More information at ocracokepreservation.org.

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