Hot Coals at Oriental's Croaker Festival

It was a dark and cold night, but not stormy, circa 1985. From the coastal plains to the foothills and beyond, patrons of the theater filled every seat available every night of Ira David Wood’s production of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge, played by the famous playwright, Wood, was facing Stage Right as he approached the end of a profound and emotionally charged soliloquy. The house was quiet, all spellbound by Scrooge’s oratory, when, just before he spoke the last line of his oracle, several men dressed in black tuxedos entered from Stage Left.
Scrooge turned to face the audience, seeing from the corner of his eye, the handsome and dapper young men that had suddenly appeared. He faced them, and, with a startled shriek, yelled, “My God, it’s The Embers, I’m on stage with The Embers.” A wide-eyed country boy from Pamlico County never forgot that moment.
A performer’s bus that would have been the envy of the likes of Dolly Parton rolled into Oriental Saturday afternoon, preceded by a customized tractor-trailer hauling stage equipment emblazoned with the logo of The Embers. The last event before the Croaker Festival fireworks was attended by a dancing crowd of far more than 900, the number of permanent residents in the Village of Leisure Living, as it was known before a few sailboats arrived in the 1970s.
Gerald Davis, right, not looking a bit older, bass for The Embers, along with Craig Woolard, lead singer and saxophone, were in that troupe on the same stage with Scrooge. The Embers, the original performers of beach music, were founded in 1958.
It was a concert and it was entertainment. The wide-eyed country boy from Pamlico County, somewhat of a photojournalist by trade, made the trek with Nightingale from Arapahoe to Oriental to hear The Embers. A good time was had by all, especially Fay Bond and Hugh Midgette.

Gerald Davis and Andy Swindell, keyboard, above, both an integral part of the band’s success, occupy positions behind the other 5 performers. But a little effort and a long lens brought them forward.

Jeff Grimes, guitar.

Craig Woolard, lead vocalist and saxophone..

Wayne Free, interim drummer.

Stephen Pachuta, trumpet and percussionist of all trades.

Bob Nantz, trombone.

If Tthe Embers were to hear Hugh Midgette sing the national anthem, he would have a gig with them every performance.

Oriental Boat Show, April 13 - 15, to feature 2 NC Coastal Heritage Association Vessels

Click here for the story on the events page of the NC Coastal Heritage Association website.

Portsmouth Island Homecoming

A must see … must do for all who appreciate NC’s coastal heritage and an absolute MUST for those who have not yet learned to appreciate this dynamic part of North Carolinas history.

Read all about it.

On the ferry

“Oh Lord. No, I give up; that just can’t be.”
“Will the sun ever rise again? Oh, thank heaven, yes, it did, at the Per, .”

Supporting not just visual art / photography ... a little jazz

Ladies & Gentlemen, please welcome Willie E. Atkinson to your music library and list of things to do. Willie, retired from flying high with the US Air Force, now sends his distinctive bluesy jazzy voice over the airwaves. He is the digital archivist for the NCCHA

An accomplished musician himself, along with his wife Jacquelyn, who is in her own right a noted historian, invite you to absorb the following opportunity into your cultural DNA.

Check this out.


NC Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson contributed an opening poem for the book, Sound People. He has published a new book of poetry, Our World.
See more, click here.
And, in the wake of serving an acclaimed DownEast clam chowder at the christening of the Frances Mae, the Oriental Women’s Club has invited the North Carolina Coastal Heritage Association to serve that recipe on March 17 at the Oriental Chowder Cook-off. It will be held on the grounds of the Oriental Marina where awards will be presented to the best chowders as well as for the best St. Patrick’s Day theme at each participant’s serving station.
NCCHA is looking for a sponsor to assist in procuring the closely held secret ingredients known only to Ben & Carolyn Casey and a thousand or more residents of DownEast Carteret County residents.

Look for a version of new NCCHA president, Keith Bruno with a green beard.

In Praise of Pungo Wildlife Officer & Pamlico Photographer

Recently, Ben & Carolyn Casey ventured to Pungo National Wildlife Refuge just north of Belhaven. They encountered a very kind and helpful wildlife officer, the Deputy Refuge Manager for Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The Pungo Refuge is contained in Pocosin Lakes NWR. Greg Boling guided them to a perfect spot to photograph tundra swans.
Excited to see the sky filled with feathers, alas, when they arrived at the location Officer Boling suggested, Ben’s one really good camera went into complete cardiac rest. Carolyn shot creditable images with her point and shoot.
An air ambulance transported Ben’s camera to a specialist in New York. Soon after the medivac flight, Ben was advised to turn off life support. Medicare would not cover a losing proposition.
Attempting to not wallow in despair, Ben is proud to exhibit a photo taken at Pungo by Pamlico County native, Buddy Rogers.
Ben was introduced to Buddy’s remarkable work by CAPTAIN RAY EVEREST.
Formerly of Oriental, now residing in Vermont, his name is trademarked.
Enjoy Buddy’s photo. Buddy is a low key giant of humanity and photography.

NC Coastal Heritage Assoc Update

Check out the news of a new president and a new year.

Visit Go to events, see story on 2018

You’ll be glad you did?