MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The 27th annual North Carolina Seafood Festival kicked off Oct. 4th in Morehead City with more than 100,000 people from across the state in attendance for the fun and local food.
Throughout the three-day event, more than 150 arts and crafts and food vendors sold local products, including fresh seafood caught from the waters of North Carolina.
Cheryl Pigott, the marketing chairperson for the festival, said one of the major goals is to recognize the importance of the local fishing community and to raise money for local schools and non-profit organizations.
“Everyone who comes out gets to have fun, eat great local food and help the community,” said Pigott.
Amusement rides and games were available for children and wine tasting booths were enjoyed by adults. Concerts from local performers were also held.
Festival attendees watched local chefs create their favorite recipes and later battled each other’s culinary skills with the Cooking with the Chefs event.
Master Sgt. Craig Campbell, engineer equipment chief with 2nd Marine Logistics Group, attended the festival with his family and said they have been to other smaller seafood festivals and enjoyed them, so the first time at the North Carolina festival was a big hit.
“It gets us involved in the local community,” said Campbell. “It’s great for all Marines as well, because it can get them out of the barracks doing something fun and allows them to learn what’s around them just off base.”
The culminating event for the festival was the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony bringing the local fishing community together to remember the lives of the fisherman who never returned from sea, and to also bless future voyages.
Dozens of local fishermen brought their fishing vessels to pay their respects during the wreath laying portion of the ceremony.
Seaman Recruit Reginald Gardner, a hospital corpsman at Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point, said as soon as he heard about the festival, he knew he had to attend.
“I absolutely love seafood festivals, and I made sure I wasn’t going to miss this one,” said Gardner. “The great atmosphere brings the down home family feeling to the event for fun, food and family.”
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